Every day, about ten people in the US die from drowning – and 20 percent of them are children aged 14 or younger. Research has shown that formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning among children aged 1 to 4 years old (those greatest at risk). So the American Red Cross is jumping in the water this summer to instruct 50,000 people in 50 selected cities how to swim properly. The cities were selected based on high numbers of drowning rates.
While 80 percent of Americans say they can swim, only 56 percent of “self-described swimmers” can perform all five of the basic skills that could save their life in the water. (Remember: 20 percent didn’t even claim to be able swim.) Interesting note: Men are significantly more likely than women to report that they have all five swimming skills (57 percent for men compared to 36 percent of women).