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Study Finds Parental Fear Puts Black Kids at Risk for Drowning

pool_pic3.jpgDon’t let fear keep your child from learning water safety. Black kids are at a greater risk of drowning, a study finds.











Approximately 70% of African American Children and 58% of
Hispanic Children Report Low or No Swimming Ability Putting Them At Risk of


Fear, lack of parental encouragement and personal
appearance among major factors preventing children from learning to swim; pool
access and financial constraints play a lesser role

USA Swimming 2010 study shows that while the summer pool is
opening for the summer months across the country, approximately 70% of African
American children and 58% of Hispanic children, compared to 40% of Caucasians
do not know how to swim. If your child falls in the category of children who
cannot swim, they are at risk for drowning. The study found that the “fear of
drowning” was the strongest factor as to why parents are not putting their
children in swim lessons—even if they are free.


While the study revealed children from lower income families were more inclined to agree that
“family budget doesn’t include money for me to take swim lessons,” focus group
research found that many parents wouldn’t let kids swim even if lessons were
free, a theme that was tested four times in different focus groups. Overall,
fear trumped financial concerns across all respondent race groups in low-income


According to a mother who
participated in a Denver focus group, “You’re already uncomfortable and scared.
You’re like, ‘I‘m paying them so I can have heart palpitations on the
side-lines. It’s not worth it. It really isn’t. Why should I have to pay money
to be afraid?”


Other major variables include lack of parental
encouragement in African American and Hispanic families and personal appearance
issues (notion that chlorine is bad for African American skin and hair). Minor
variables included financial constraints and access to pools.




If you’re pondering whether or not to pay for or allow your
child to receive free swimming lessons from a certified instructor, think of
the percentage of children who drown annually; according to Time,
more than 175,000 kids and teens die annually as a result of drowning.

There are many ways you can prevent your child or a
neighbor’s child from drowning, and it’s not forbidding them to go to the pool
this summer. Check your local listings for swim lessons, especially free
lessons. Your family budget does not have to suffer from taking the necessary
preventive measures to ensure your child’s safety at the pool this summer, and
every summer.

Check out the discounted rates at your local YMCA.

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