Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Swimming: The Life-Saving Sport



It’s that time of year when my friends know I’m going to ask what swim activities they have planned for their children or grandchildren. I’m happy to report that so far, everyone I have asked does have some type of water-related activity on the schedule! Whether it is mommy-and-me aquatics class, swim lessons, or joining a summer league team, the benefits of children becoming competent and comfortable in the water cannot be overstated.

Here are just a few of the benefits of swimming:  
  • Swimming is good exercise. Children build muscles, cardio, and endurance. 
  • Swimming is a good fit for everyone. Regardless of ability or disability, body type, or level of fitness, all children benefit from swimming. 
  • Swimming is social. The pool is an atmosphere for social interaction and is an ideal place for making friends. 
  • Swimming teaches discipline. Children quickly learn that practice leads to improvement. They learn how to respect the rules of the pool and follow directions.

These are all great reasons for but this list does not even include the TOP REASON for swimming. Unlike other sports, learning to swim can mean the difference between life and death. If a child cannot shoot a basket, hit a softball, or make a putt, it has no great impact on his or her life. Not being able to swim competently, however, can have devastating consequences. A child knowing how to swim and being comfortable in the water can literally save his or her life.

In the summer of 2013, swimming pool drowning took the lives of 202 children. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional deaths in children from 1-4 years old and the second leading cause of death among children 5-14. Data from the CDC shows that ethnic minorities are at even greater risk of drowning because they are less likely to know how to swim.

Children who cannot swim are far more likely to become 
drowning victims than children who can.

So the next time you bump into a friend with children or grandchildren, take the time to ask, “What swim activities do you have planned for the summer?” 


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