Water Safety

Did you know that drowning is the number one cause of death by accidental injury for children ages 1-4? For people under age 24 drowning is the third most common cause of accidental death. You’ve got to learn how to swim, especially if you plan to spend time at the beach or the pool!

Make a Splash is a national child-focused water safety initiative created by the USA Swimming Foundation.

It works by aligning the nation’s top learn-to-swim resources in an effort to save lives. Make a Splash educates parents through a national awareness campaign, saves lives by joining forces with grassroots learn-to-swim programs and reaches thousands of children through wide-reaching in-school materials.

The end goal is to create real solutions designed to ensure children are water safe, especially minority youth who are at a higher risk for drowning. The USA Swimming Foundation, African American Olympic gold medalist swimmer Cullen Jones and Make a Splash are teaming up this summer and will utilize the information from the findings presented in the studies below as they travel the country to educate parents and kids about the importance of learning to swim and the resources available for families in need. Make a Splash is the national water safety initiative created by the USA Swimming Foundation in an effort to provide access to swim lessons at low to no cost for children across the country.

Water Safety Facts

  • 9 people drown each day in the U.S.
  • In ethnically-diverse communities, the youth drowning rate is 2-3 times higher than the the national average
  • Nearly six out of 10 African American and Hispanic/Latino children are unable to swim, nearly twice as many as their Caucasian counterparts
  • The key indicator in this was not race, but family — Children from non-swimming households are eight times more likely to be at-risk of drowning
  • While about 1/3 of white children from non-swimming families go on to learn to swim, less than 1/10 of children in non-swimming African American families do.  By teaching these children, Make a Splash is breaking the cycle and creating generations of parents-to-be who will know how to swim
  • Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. among children under 14 and theleading cause of accidental death for children five and under.
  • For people under age 24 drowning is the third most common cause of accidental death.
  • The key indicator for drowning risk was not race, but family– children from non-swimming households are 8 times as likely to be at risk for drowning.
  • In 2007, there were 3,443 fatal unintentional drownings in the United States, averaging ten deaths per day.
  • More than one in five fatal drowning victims are children 14 and younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another four received emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
  • Nonfatal drownings can cause brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities including memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning.

*The USA Swimming Foundation commissioned a national research study as a part of its national Make a Splash anti-drowning initiative.  The survey was conducted by the University of Memphis.  1,772 children ages six to 16 years old were surveyed in six U.S. metropolitan area in 2008; Chicago, Houston, Memphis, Oakland and Philadelphia.

*The Constraints Impacting Minority Swimming Participation, Phase II study was conducted by the University of Memphis between February 1, 2010 and May 26, 2010 and surveyed more than 2,000 children and parents in six cities across the U.S, including Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Memphis, Minneapolis and San Diego.