Make A Splash

With the weather warming up, pools across the country are opening and children are flocking to them. Unfortunately, 70 percent of Black children and 60 percent of Hispanic/Latino children cannot swim, a shocking statistic that puts them in severe danger of drowning.

The statistics come from a study released by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis. Child drownings is the second leading cause of death for children under 14, and is especially prominent in communities of color.

To help reduce the risk, the USA Swimming Foundation has set the goal of teaching 800,000 children to swim in 2015 through its Make a Splash Tour.

“One drowning is one too many. Knowing how to swim can be the difference between life and death, as formal swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent,” said Debbie Hesse, Executive Director of USA Swimming Foundation. “Drowning is such a big problem, but it’s 100 percent preventable. The USA Swimming Foundation and Phillips 66 are educating communities on the opportunity to make learning to swim a life skill all children can easily acquire this summer.”

Gold medalists Cullen Jones, Conor Dwyer, Jessica Hardy and Rowdy Gaines will be a part of the campaign in an effort to raise awareness.

The Olympians will participate in learn-to-swim events across the country as part of the tour.

The child-focused water safety campaign is designed to educate parents, kids and communities about the importance of learning to swim.

Approximately 10 people drown every day in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nearly 25 percent of those are children younger than 14.

Just 13 percent of kids who come from a non-swimming household will ever learn to swim, the USA Swimming Foundation found.

What’s worse is that Black children drown at a rate nearly three times higher than their Caucasian peers.

If your child cannot swim or you would like to help others learn this critical life-saving skill, visit  to find a local partner offering affordable swim lessons.