Jane Brody, The New York Times columnist (and Park Slope swimmer), just wrote a piece about the importance of teaching kids to swim – it’s still the 2nd most common cause of death for children from 1 to 19!
Also, she cites the statistic that 70% of African-American children and 60% of Latino children are non-swimmers. That numbers about 40% for white children, according to the USA Swimming Foundation. Clearly some parity issues here.
As an added warning, I saw an amazing video about drowning on Slate recently. It actually has footage of a girl who is drowning off a New Jersey beach, surrounded by other unknowing swimmers (spoiler alert: she is rescued :-)).
I love being in water and I know that it’s especially exciting for children. But the quickness with which a playful situation can turn into a deadly one is sobering. So please keep your eyes out for your kids and equip them with the skills to survive in an emergency.