Many Americans do not know how to swim, placing themselves at risk as they enjoy swimming pools, lakes, rivers, and oceans this summer.
According to a recent Leslie’s-commissioned survey conducted by The Harris Poll, only 63% of U.S. adults say they are very comfortable being around water, and as much as 36% of those surveyed say they do not know how to swim.
The findings from the survey
The numbers are even more alarming for children. Nearly half the parents of children under 18 years of age say their child does not know how to swim, and 61% say their child has not taken swimming lessons. Almost 30% of parents say they are concerned about their child drowning.
Those concerns are well-founded. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), every year in the U.S. there are an estimated 4,000 fatal drownings and 8,000 nonfatal drownings.
Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. among children ages one to four years with the majority of the drownings occurring in swimming pools versus natural bodies of water.
The CDC also reports that drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury death in children and adolescents ages 5 to 19 years old, behind motor vehicle crashes.
Among children 5 to 14 years of age, 30% of the drowning deaths occur in swimming pools, while more than half of the drownings among people 15 years or older are in natural waters such as lakes, rivers, and oceans.
“Children are irresistibly drawn to water, whether it’s a backyard pool, a pond, or a river. It’s better to teach them how to be safe in the water than to instruct them to avoid it and hope they listen,” said Cullen Jones, four-time Olympic swimming medalist, who is now a swimming lessons advocate and Leslie’s water safety collaboration partner.
“Learning to be safe and at ease in the water also opens up a whole new world of recreational and athletic possibilities, such as boating, fishing and competitive swimming, among others.”
Jones nearly drowned at age five. His mother reacted — not by keeping him out of the water, but by enrolling him in swimming lessons, where he thrived.
While swimming lessons are important, pool owners should take additional safety precautions to prevent drownings.
Three Tenets of Water Safety
A priority at Leslie’s is to spread awareness of three primary tenets of pool safety, including maintaining healthy and safe water, ensuring a secure pool area, and encouraging swimming lessons and water safety education.
Leslie’s is dedicated to helping its customers stay safe during swim season and all year long. To maintain clean and healthy water, regular testing is crucial to uphold proper water balance.
Leslie’s makes it easy with its free AccuBlue in-store water test and treatment plan. The AccuBlue technology is a product of Leslie’s 60 years of water testing experience and the accumulated data from more than 50 million tests.
AccuBlue covers 10 parameters and generates a water health score and customized treatment plan to help pool owners get their water back in balance.
The company offers additional products, tools, and information to stay safe in and around the pool, from the latest in pool security fencing, gates, safety covers, and alarms to learn-to-swim products.
Encouraging swimming lessons and education, Leslie’s is proud to support the water safety efforts of the YMCA and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
From May 5 through October 31, 2023, Leslie’s will be accepting customer donations in all their more than 1,000 stores across the nation and online to support water safety programs.
Leslie’s and its customers have contributed more than $500,000 to these two nonprofit organizations. For the first time, Leslie’s is sponsoring the Phoenix location of the World’s Largest Swim Lesson, to be held at the South Valley YMCA on June 22, 2023.