Swimways will host its first International Learn to Swim Day program on Saturday, May 18, encouraging parents and caregivers to take steps to ensure their kids learn to swim not only for fun, but for their safety.
Swimways founded its National Learn to Swim Day program in 2012, held on the third Saturday of May each year. This year, Swimways expands the program internationally and teams with PAW Patrol to convey the importance, benefits and fun of learning to swim.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages one to four, and the second-leading cause for children under 14. New research conducted by the USA Swimming Foundation also finds 64 percent of African-American, 45 percent of Hispanic/Latino, and 40 percent of Caucasian children have little to no swimming ability.
For the past three years, Swimways has partnered with the USA Swimming Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the national sports governing body, whose mission is to save lives and build champions – in the pool and life.
“While swimming is an important life skill for kids to learn, it’s also a fun activity for families to enjoy together,” says Monica Jones, vice-president of marketing, Swimways. “Swimways is passionate about making sure kids are safer in and around the water, and believes the pool should be a special place where families and friends can connect and relax.”
Elizabeth Beisel, two-time Olympic medalist and USA Swimming Foundation Ambassador, serves as the spokesperson for Swimways’ International Learn to Swim Day program this year. “One of the most special, lifesaving gifts a parent can give their child is teaching them how to swim,” she says. “With the summer swimming season quickly approaching, it’s vital to spread the message about the importance and benefits of learning to swim.”
The benefits of learning to swim don’t stop with fun and safety. According to a national survey commissioned by Swimways¹, more than 4 out of 5 parents understand that learning to swim by age 5 increases a child’s self-confidence, but 88% of parents are unaware that it can also aid in the development of mathematical skills. In addition, only 14% understand it can help develop oral expression, and less than half understand that it can boost children’s social skills.
To celebrate Swimways’ International Learn to Swim Day events, Beisel recommends these activities for parents and caregivers:
- Get educated with the best resources available: For learn to swim and water safety resources, visit www.teachmetoswim.com
- To find swim lessons in your area, parents and caregivers can visit www.usaswimmingfoundation.org to see a list of USA Swimming Foundation Make a Splash Local Partner swim lesson providers
- Participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88 percent (Archive of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2009)
- Incorporate swim training gear, water toys, pool floats and pool games to make learning to swim a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy together
To help kids learn to swim, Swimways has developed the Swim Steps program, which offers products for all skill levels, from water introduction to water exploration to swim training. Products range from infant and baby pool floats in Swim Step 1, to swim trainer life jackets in Swim Step 2, to graduated swim training vests in Swim Step 3. Families can learn more about Swimways and its Swim Steps products by visiting www.Swimways.com.
To celebrate Swimways’ International Learn to Swim Day events, countries across the globe are partnering with local water safety organizations, joining up with the PAW Patrol pups, and promoting the Swimways Swim Steps and PAW Patrol learn to swim products, in an effort to spread the message of the importance of learning to swim.
In the U.S., Leslie’s Pool Supplies, Service and Repair will kick off its Pool Safety Campaign in support of the USA Swimming Foundation at an Aqua-Tots Swim Schools location in Phoenix. Local children will receive free swim lessons from two-time Olympic medalist and USA Swimming Foundation Ambassador, Jessica Hardy, play and pose with PAW Patrol characters and more.
Additional celebrations include Hardy and the PAW Patrol pups throwing out the first pitch at the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game on Sunday, May 19.
Swimways is a subsidiary of Spin Master.