BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Unfortunately, drowning tragedies in the summer are not uncommon.
Summertime at the pool is one of the deadliest times of the year. Nearly 1,000 children drown each year. It’s one of the top causes of death for kids up to 14.
Now, there’s a movement worldwide, and right here in Maryland, to keep drowning deaths from happening.
The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson took place in Towson. The U.S. is one of 47 countries around the world hosting the event to raise awareness of fundamental swimming to prevent drowning.
“Knowing how to swim is so important when it comes to being in the pool in general,” Lifeguard Cara Jones said. “You can be able to touch the water, but if you end up walking a little bit too far into the four foot or it goes a little bit over your head, it can just be really dangerous.”
Instructors teach swimming skills like kicking and water safety tips.
Erik Jones said the younger you are, the better it is to learn, but the program teaches all ages.
“Our first client today was a 48-year-old man, and our youngest one is going to be six-months-old today,” Jones said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics said the ages of drowning victims most at risk are one through four, with 87,000 hospital visits.
Swimming is a challenge for most people in the black community because of the lack of pools in the inner city. Melanie Moore Crawley said this reason was exactly why she wanted her child to learn how to swim.
“It’s very important for African American children to learn to be avid swimmers, master swimming and its good survival skills,” she said.
But remember, always safety before fun this summer.
“It can just be really dangerous, so making sure they can do the one lap, floating on their back and treading water is super important,” Jones said.
Research shows the risk of drowning can be cut down by 88 percent if kids participate in formal swim lessons.