Many people believe they know how to swim. But in reality, the really don’t, especially children and teens. Last year the American Red Cross released survey results revealing something quite shocking: more than 60 percent of youth are unable to perform all five basic water competency skills. To reduce this life-threatening statistic, the Red Cross has launched a national campaign to reduce drownings in half by 50 percent during a three to five year period. In Minnesota, that would mean cutting the number of non-boating accident drownings from an average of 40 per year to 20.
Additional key survey findings include:
- Nearly a fifth (18 percent) of adults who are not able to perform all five water safety skills expect to supervise a child near water this summer.
- Fear is listed as the top reason for not learning how to swim both as a child and as an adult.
- Nearly half of Americans (46 percent) report that they have had an experience where they were afraid they might drown.
- Near-drowning experiences are more common among young adults (ages 18-24). And younger Americans are also more likely than those in any other age group to report that they know someone who nearly drowned (36 percent).