Report: 70 percent African-American kids can’t swim; often fear passed down by parents

The New York Times has some stunning statistics about how many African-American kids cannot swim but the even more shocking part is why.

From The New York Times:

“According to the USA Swimming Foundation, about 70 percent of African-American children, 60 percent of Latino children and 40 percent of white children are nonswimmers. Lack of access and financial constraints account only partly for these numbers. Fear, cultural factors and even cosmetic issues play a role as well.”

“Before the Civil War, more blacks than whites could swim,” Lynn Sherr, the author of “Swim: Why We Love the Water,” said in an interview. “There are many stories of shipwrecks in which black slaves rescued their owners.”

But as Ms. Sherr learned from Bruce Wigo of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, segregation destroyed the aquatic culture of the black community. “Once whites discovered swimming, blacks were increasingly excluded from public pools and lifeguarded beaches,” Mr. Wigo told her.

“As a result, many minority parents never learned how to swim. Adults who can’t swim often fear the water and, directly or indirectly, convey that fear to their children.”

I am just completely fascinated that the results of segregated pools are still affecting African-American families today. It makes perfect sense that if the grandparents and parents grew up unable to use their local pools that their kids wouldn’t learn how.

How can minority families be encouraged to swim and to get potentially life-saving swimming lessons for their kids? How can we break that cycle of fear of water for many African-American families?

68 comments Add your comment

context

June 12th, 2013
6:10 am

what?!?!?! you’re trying to tell me there are still lingering effects from segregation?

we should definitely work super hard on fixing that since it’s so unfair. good thing that seems to be the only residual effect…

This is Mrs. Norman Maine

June 12th, 2013
6:47 am

I’m going to have to call B.S. on this one. 70% seems very high and I definitely don’t believe that bunk about widespread fear of water. Also slaves jumping in to save their masters, please.

Just Me Thinking...

June 12th, 2013
7:15 am

I can tell you that this statistic is probably right on. Go to any school and ask all the kids if they can swim and you will probably get this result. This information isn’t new. Think about it. On average who do you see when you are at the beach? It’s also common sense to think that if a parent can’t swim, the kid more than likely isn’t going to be around large bodies of water much because of the fear of not being able to save your child if need be. Get them lessons you say? Well in most places lessons cost money that a lot people just aren’t willing to spend on something that they avoid anyway. In places that are not close to beaches, you actually have to make an effort to get to a place where you can actually swim and then pay for the opportunity. Yeah, there are community pools (not Sub-division) but those are usually packed and not really the place to be if you can’t swim.

FCM

June 12th, 2013
7:17 am

Cullen Jones. Men’s Olympic 2012 swim team member. 3rd African American to make the the team.

Mother of 2

June 12th, 2013
7:17 am

The YMCA is a presence in most major cities and suburbs. It is an inexpensive opportunity to take swimming lessons – you don’t need to be a full member to take the lessons. They teach adult and child classes, and have one on one instruction. Everyone should know how to swim for numerous safety reasons.

FCM

June 12th, 2013
7:20 am

BTW there are more African American track members than Hispanic, White, and Asian combined. What do we do about making track events more fair?

JF McNamara

June 12th, 2013
7:23 am

Yeah, the swimming issue is pretty prevalent, but it will fix itself over time. It’s not a big concern to me.

I’m a lot more concerned about nastier cycles like the not valuing education or teaching your kid the basics as a small child. The mindset is stupid, but it get passed down. We are only 1-2 generations from segregation. Its going to be a slow evolution for the mindset of parents to change and destructive, forced cultural norms to be changed. None of these issues can be solved over night.

JF McNamara

June 12th, 2013
7:25 am

@FCM,

Its not about athletic competition. It’s nowhere in the article or mentioned by anyone in the comments.

Seriously?

June 12th, 2013
7:28 am

FCM – you are missing the point entirely. Those who can’t swim, regardless of color, are at danger around water. Just because there is a black Olympic Swimmer or a lack of white runners, doesn’t mean that everyone, pink, purple, yellow, whatever, shouldn’t know how to swim. I think you’re just trying to stir the pot.

Mayhem

June 12th, 2013
7:33 am

Who cares? Not my problem. If you are scared of water, that’s not my problem. I happen to love water, beaches, lakes, pools, rivers, etc. So do my kids and my husband (who is black by the way).

But then again, I came from a fearless family. My parents taught me not to be afraid, especially of water.

So this is of no concern to me.

LeeH1

June 12th, 2013
7:38 am

It is a bad parent that won’t teach their children survival skills. Learning to swim is like learning to look both ways before crossing a street. If you don’t teach that basic skill to your children, they might die in traffic. Refusing to teach your children how to swim is setting them up to die in the water as well.

And don’t give me that lack of funds crap. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Red Cross, churches, firestations, neighbor fishermen, everyone is willing to help out at little or no cost. Parents frequently let children play in the water without giving them swimming lessons- it is not access to water that is the problem. That is only an excuse. Children do not learn to swim because their parents are bad parents. It is as simple as that.

Sunny

June 12th, 2013
7:51 am

I agree with the statistics and I’ll add another reason in especially when it comes to a lot African American women: their hair. Most don’t have the “wash and go” variety so it’s a deterrent.

My mother is deathly afraid of water and forced me to take swim lessons as a child, however, I am nearing 35 and still can’t swim. Why? Because even though I took lessons, it was rare that I ever actually went swimming. Withouth the practice, I lost the few skills that I learned. Now, I love being near the water but since I can’t swim, I tend to panic if I can’t stand up in the water in the event that I get tired.

I take deep water aerobics three times per week and have been doing well with that so I will attempt swim lessons again as an adult.

\m/

June 12th, 2013
7:53 am

I SIMPLY DON”T CARE.

motherjanegoose

June 12th, 2013
8:09 am

I care. It is sad that children might have a fear about something that is such a wonderful part of the summer. Most children are so excited about the pool or the beach.

My Mother did not know how to swim. She really did not care for the pool nor the beach. We had an above ground pool in our back yard. I do not remember her going in it. She also did not enjoy the lake nor the beach ( which we rarely were taken too). We did go to swimming lessons. I remember getting on the bus when I was about 7 and riding it to the YMCA.

My two children both had lessons. My son went to Swim Atlanta and daughter took lessons in our neighborhood pool. BTW swimming lessons cost a lot less than cell phones, jewelry, purses, shoes and clothes that some folks wear.

I agree that parents need to take the lead on this one. As a teacher, I see so many parents who do not take the lead on other important things such as hygiene, manners, bedtimes work ethic, and reading. Those things are pretty much free. So, I guess I can see that something that costs money would be less likely to be deemed important.

@ LeeH1 …yes the “bad” parents are multiplying. I see lots of children without life skills.

jarvis

June 12th, 2013
8:23 am

“Before the Civil War, more blacks than whites could swim”
She certainly found a scientific poll from 1860 to prove this out.

Rafe Hollister

June 12th, 2013
8:27 am

Learning to swim is such a necessity for survival, yet the media focuses on random sensational dangers like school shootings. The amount of children who drown every year dwarfs those, who are injured by firearms, but this is the first article I have seen in many years dealing with the drowning threat.

Water is everywhere and the media should be advocating nationwide programs giving swimming lessons to intercity kids. America is big on sensationalism, but lacking on teaching basic life skills, like swimming, maintaining a bank account, learning to cook for yourself, stop, drop, and roll, CPR, simple repairs you can do yourself, etc.

Techmom

June 12th, 2013
8:32 am

Wow- some of these comments are down right rude.

I kind of wonder about the authenticity of the “history” in the article but nonetheless it’s quite obvious there is a significant portion of our society who doesn’t know how to swim. I was curious about the stats on the number of drownings so I went to the CDC site. On average 10 people in the US die each DAY from drowning. It’s the leading cause of death for children 1-4 and second for children 5-14. The minority drowning rate however is apparently such an issue that even the CDC calls it out:

“Who is most at risk?
Males: Nearly 80% of people who die from drowning are male.
Children: Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates…. Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1-4 than any other cause except congenital anomalies (birth defects). Among those 1-14, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes.
Minorities: Between 2005 and 2009, the fatal unintentional drowning rate for African Americans was significantly higher than that of whites across all ages. The disparity is widest among children 5-14 years old. The fatal drowning rate of African American children ages 5 to 14 is almost three times that of white children in the same age range.

Factors such as access to swimming pools, the desire or lack of desire to learn how to swim, and choosing water-related recreational activities may contribute to the racial differences in drowning rates. Available rates are based on population, not on participation. If rates could be determined by actual participation in water-related activities, the disparity in minorities’ drowning rates compared to whites would be much greater.”

http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/water-safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html

I don’t know what the solution is other than parents choosing not to pass the fear and lack of knowledge on to their children. The reason I learned to swim was b/c my mom taught me. We were poor and so we never had swim lessons but my mom did make sure to teach us how to swim. If she had been fearful of water, I’m sure we never would have learned.

HB

June 12th, 2013
8:37 am

Of course, parents should try to teach their children to swim, but access really is an issue for many families. I grew up in a town in South GA with two pools that weren’t backyard pools. They were at the Elks Club and the Country Club, and you had to be a member or their guest to swim there. Guess how many black families I saw there. I was lucky enough to be able to go with relatives now and then and take lessons with them. My single mother was not allowed to join either club (not that we could afford it anyway). Now I live in a city with very few residential pools, but wonderful public aquatic centers. In a similarly built city, though, if public facilities are not available in most neighborhoods, I would think many kids would have no access to water.

MrLiberty

June 12th, 2013
8:39 am

The same problem seems to exist with regards to fear of dogs.

Denise

June 12th, 2013
8:52 am

If you don’t care, why are you commenting?

I took swimming lessons several times and I’m sure at one time I could swim. I just never got into it enough to do more than wade in the water and play Marco Polo. I wouldn’t mind swimming for exercise but I don’t think I can anymore.

My mother is very afraid of water. When she had her pools, she would get in with a life vest, nose clips, goggles, pool shoes, and earplugs. And that was in the shallow end. She would not get her head underwater unless someone was with her. She never passed that level of fear but I was afraid of getting my face wet when I was younger. I could swim on top of the water. LOL

And as far as the cosmetics aspect of it, that is very true. A lot of Black women – myself included sometimes – are just not going to get our hair wet just for the hell of it. That is why we have a high level of obesity in our community. Not going to sweat our hair out to work out. The washing/drying/styling of hair is not an everyday thing- and wash and wear i just not possible for some of us – and a lot of us spend a lot of money on getting our hair done on a weekly/bi-weekly basis. Spending $50+ to get your hair done on Saturday means you are not going swimming on Sunday! Maybe not even sweating until Tuesday or Wednesday. (smile)

motherjanegoose

June 12th, 2013
9:03 am

@ Denise…haha on nose clips…I wore them. You made me think of those crazy bathing caps with the flowers all over them So glad we do not have to wearing them anymore. Y’all have a great day! I am in Denver and it is 99 degrees! YES, hard to believe but it does not feel too bad as there is no humidity.

Brown Eyed Girl!

June 12th, 2013
9:08 am

Growing up, my family didn’t have access to pools. Occasionally we did go to the beach, but seeing all the water would be intimidating. My brothers taught themselves how to swim with not much effort. I probably would have had a similiar story, however, around 7 ot 8 years old, I almost drowned in a lake. I was being a typically child and a teenager decided she would take me out deep into the lake and throw me in. Fortunately, some other teenagers saw her do it and they came and rescued me. Since then, the fear of drowning is there. Funny thing is, I can actually swim. I pretty much made myself learn. But the catch is, I can do well only in water I know I can stand up in. I simply panic when I get into deeper water. I think I just have flashbacks to my childhood. I do get the opportunity to enjoy the water, but its always in the back of my mind. I have two boys and my husband is a great swimmer. I encourage the two little guys to swim every chance I get. Even found myself helping my husband teach my baby how to swim. I refuse to have my fears passed on to my kids. Learning to swim for them is not an option, it is a necessity!

Denise

June 12th, 2013
9:23 am

MJG, if you would have seen Mama in her “swimming” get up you would have LOL for real. I did. It was amazing. She had an above ground pool at her current house but it just collapsed so we won’t have that to dip in anymore.

Enjoy Denver!

Brown Eyed Girl! – I don’t know why people think it is soooo “funny” to throw people in the water. Even if someone can swim, the initial shock of being thrown in the water may cause panic. I know, for me, once I’ve been scared, it takes a while before my brain takes over. You don’t have a lot of time for your brain to “take over” when you’re in a near-drowning situation. Enough people have had this experience to completely turn them off from swimming and then the cycle of fear continues. I was threatened by a stranger at a pool party once and I was very “vocal” about not getting thrown into the pool. I made some “…if you do…and when I get out the pool I’m going to….” comments that pretty much got the dude off me but I should not have had to go thru that. PLUS…I had just gotten my hair done for graduation the next day. Getting my hair wet on THAT day would have been a mistake this dude would have hated to make. :-)

FCM

June 12th, 2013
9:25 am

@ Seriously, you miss my point. As we see more and more African American’s entering swimming at competitive levels, we will see them inspore the kids to want to learn to swim. Boys and Girls clubs already offer swimming, most community pools do too..sometimes on a sliding scale.

As to who should know how to swim……Hmmmmmmmmmm I was competive swimmer in my youth, certified lifeguard, certified swimming instructor, my brother held a state record in swimming and was captain of the HS swim team. Both my children were learning to swim as infants. I have taught several kids to swim or dive. I also encourage a healthy respect of the water.

As to stirring the pot up…that is EXACTLY what I think articles like this do.

Techmom

June 12th, 2013
9:33 am

Did you guys see this story? A 4-year old (African-American) girl nearly downed in a river when a man dove in to say her only he made a poor choice to dive head first and is now paralyzed.

The mom stood on the bank and screamed for help instead of going in after her own daughter. How much you want to bet it’s because she couldn’t swim?

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/good-samaritan-left-paralyzed-after-trying-save-4-/nYJBL/

FCM

June 12th, 2013
9:43 am

Techmom….good point. Reminding anyone going into unknown water depths you do not go in head first. Jump feet first in…basic lifeguarding 101.

For the record I think every person should have to pass a lifeguard test as a teenager. CPR, basic first aid, body board handling, and water rescue.

My oldest is 2 years from being old enough to do the class and you can bet she will take it until she passes.

catlady

June 12th, 2013
9:51 am

Not sure it is race, Theresa. Where I live there are less than one percent African Americana, but it is the Latino and poor white kids who don’t swim. Neither they, nor their parents, ill ” go anywhere more than ankle deep” for fear of the water. Quite a few consider it a miracle if they can be baptized without drowning! (People around here are baptized in the creeks and rivers.)

real life

June 12th, 2013
10:03 am

I am always skeptical of stories that focus on historic statistics and generalizations. I have not done any research but think this might be selective use of statistics. I would like to see more of the research on which this article based its blanket assumptions.
My neighborhood is very mixed and people of all races are in the pool. At the water aerobics class I attend nearly 1/2 the people are African-American.

With that said, historically African-Americans have not had access to pools as they were often not built in predominantly minority communities. That is still true in the poorer areas today. Swim lessons are not inexpensive, even at the Y. They are priced beyond the reach of many lower income families, regardless of race.

catlady

June 12th, 2013
10:05 am

My two eldest took swimming lessons before they turned 4 and have always Ben avid swimmers. The county pool where they took lessons made them go off the board that first, and every, day. My youngest was an avid side- hanger until about 2 months before she turned 4. Her big sis, a trained lifeguard, tried to teach her, but she was too scared. Then, one day, she literally said, “Enough of this!” And let go of the side and swam about 10 feet. Later that week she was swimming the width of the poor and a few days later, the width. (This is my very competitive child.). She wanted to do what the rest of her family was doing!

Growing up in Florida, in the 50s, we had summer school which was crafts and swimming lessons sponsored by the school. I took the lessons for 3 years. I am not a strong swimmer, but I like to swim, as does my former husband, and I guess we communicated that expectation to our kids.

catlady

June 12th, 2013
10:07 am

Soeey about all the typos. I have a love/hate relationship with my iPad.

catlady

June 12th, 2013
10:07 am

And it is winning!

Denise

June 12th, 2013
10:37 am

I’d never heard of dry drowning until a few days ago but it’s something to know about…

http://www.today.com/id/24982210/ns/today-today_health/t/boys-death-highlights-hidden-danger-dry-drowning/

missnadine

June 12th, 2013
10:38 am

@techmom – the story you included really got me mad. At the least the girl’s mom is very negligent. Poor man – I hope the mom does all she can to help him with her bills.

catlady

June 12th, 2013
11:30 am

I think “swimming lessons” and “neighborhood pools”. Are artifacts of middle class America.

BessBear

June 12th, 2013
11:38 am

It sure doesn’t help that public schools no longer include swimming. Lawyers have taken away that option, along with so many other activities kids used to do

Devil's Advocate

June 12th, 2013
11:47 am

FCM,

I’m not sure what world you live in. Your opinions are as if everyone has the same life experience and opportunities as you. Forget race for a minute. Not every community in this county has bodies of water for swimming. Not every community has enough pools for the entire population. If people have no reason to be in or near water, why would they put a priority on learning to swim?

What about fishing, hunting, or farming? Those are all life sustaining skills that would be great to possess but not everyone does.

Everyone cannot just get up and hang out at a pool. If a family’s only exposure to recreational water is an annual trip to Six Flags or to mess around in shallow water at White Water, where is the opportunity to learn to swim? If said family only has enough disposable income to take one big outing a year, they probably don’t have enough money to pay for lessons or even make adjustments to the daily work/school/whatever routine to go to the “free” ones you mention. There are *NOT* free swimming lessons on every urban block or every rural mile. There are not public accessible pools in every suburban mile either. Plenty of communities have private pools and public pools but not every community.

I believe the percentages are what they are because of finances and access. This article does not say 100% of blacks cannot swim; that would be different.

Heck, I took swimming lessons when I was a kid but the facility was like 10 miles away (a far distance before the Atlanta boom in population and travel distances for daily commutes). Once the lessons were over I rarely ever saw a pool. It wasn’t a priority to drive 10 miles just to swim for fun when we had real chores to do around the house and other activities that were not water related. If I grew up in a neighborhood with a pool or a community pool within walking distance then I probably would have experienced more swimming. It just was what it was.

Back on race though. This study suggests that 30% of blacks can swim. Would you find it interesting that the 2010 Census estimates that 32.2% of black households earn over $50K a year? Finances and access…

Hollywould

June 12th, 2013
11:50 am

Wow, about the easiest thing to learn and people can’t do it. Perhaps you should stay out of water then.

Class of '98

June 12th, 2013
11:52 am

Any difficulties with swimming is psychological. Even newborn babies can swim. Put a six-month old in the water, and it will doggie paddle.

Swimming is easier than walking, because it doesn’t require nearly as much balance. And it takes hardly any effort or movement to float on your back.

You can teach a kid how to swim in 15 minutes. It’s not hard. Most drownings occur because the person panicked. Like I said, this is a psychological problem.

RJ

June 12th, 2013
11:56 am

@Denise, please don’t speak for black women. Me and most of my friends are natural. Most of my co-workers are as well. Getting our hair wet is not an issue. I don’t spend gobs of money on my hair because I don’t have to. Many black women exercise. Many wear their hair natural, not permed or pressed. This is not the reason for obesity, for some, it is the excuse. If your hair is that big of a deal to you, that’s your issue, not most black women.

I didn’t learn to swim until college because I went under water when I was 5. My brothers who are both younger, did learn to swim. We had a pool in the rec center in our neighborhood. My kids swim and so do their friends. I’m sure there is a large number of people that can’t swim, but I doubt it’s 70%. Every statistic that I’ve ever read about blacks is negative so I just don’t put much weight into them.

hoodtechie

June 12th, 2013
11:59 am

Growing up in Miami surrounded by lakes, canals and the ocean 70% of the blacks could swim because they had to. It was taught in school, year round public pools and trips to the many beaches. Most parents down there who themselves could not swim made sure their kids could because of all the drownings.After being in the navy I could not believe the number of brothers who joined and could not swim. Most were from cold climate cities (detriot, New York Philly, D.C. etc) where swimming wasn’t an everyday facet of life. I wouldn’t expect to find kids from south Fla. to participate in hockey because it’s not around them 24/7

FCM

June 12th, 2013
12:05 pm

@ Devil’s Advocate….I still think that some kind of lifesaving class would be appropriate in a HS health class. Water of some sort (creek, river, lake, ocean, pool, etc) is in most areas but granted not all…However the vast majority of commenters all said swimming lessons were one of the basics you should teach your kids when being a”good” parent. So why were your comments only at my requiring something?

“What about fishing, hunting, or farming” I possess the skill to grow food, fish, and hunt. I took hunter’s safety in HS. Yes, I can (and have) field dressed a deer. A good friend has asked to teach my kids to hunt. I agree they are good basic skills. Lost skills, like sewing and cooking (I can do those too) that probably should be brought back.

Devil's Advocate

June 12th, 2013
12:12 pm

FCM,

So now the question becomes, who pays for these classes? People complain about tax money going to social programs and services including non-academic offerings in schools. This is a perfect example of people not honoring reality when forming their opinions.

I’m not trying to attack you, just addressing your post. My opinions can be directed towards other posters too who portray the whole “it’s so easy for me so everyone else is bad for not doing it” attitude.

Seeing people from rural areas trying to cross a busy street in a major urban area is just as wild as seeing a city slicker not know how to fish. People just cannot seem to grasp that the real world is bigger than their personal world. Some people are well traveled or experienced in many different things while others are not. It’s life. If everyone was supposed to have the same experience and skills we may as well adopt socialism to make sure it happens, right?

beth

June 12th, 2013
12:23 pm

I’m not suprised by that statistic. I always thought it was because they are poor and live mostly in inner cities with a lack of swimming facilities. Also as far as swimming in lakes, oceans, rivers, that is often something done as a family event accompanied by picnics etc. Statistically, there are so few black men that stick with the family so it makes sense that aren’t taking advantage of the natural (free) swimming facilities either. Sad. I think swimming is one of the essential survival skills to have

My kids have been on a summer swim league (competition between subdivisions as well as county and state meets) for 3 years now and I think I may have seen 3 black kids in as many years. I know there are more blacks in the suburbs than that, not sure why they don’t participate more.

Denise

June 12th, 2013
12:34 pm

@RJ, I am not speaking for ALL Black women, the same as this article is not speaking for all Black people. I don’t swim because I don’t like to but I don’t mind sweating/working out. If you knew me, you’d know that hair is not a big deal in my world at all…except when I have somewhere to go. But yes, hair is a factor for some Black women when it comes to fitness and other activities. Again, obviously, not for EVERYONE but for many. I know people who don’t work out the week they get their hair done. I know people who won’t swim because of their hair. My mother wouldn’t let me go swimming sometimes bc she didn’t feel like doing my hair and she was not the only one. The same way you have friends/co-workers (or fellow bloggers like me) that don’t care about hair, I have some that do.

Mayhem

June 12th, 2013
12:53 pm

My (white) sister in law won’t get in the water either. She doesn’t want to mess up her hair or makeup. She’ll spend an hour getting ready to go to the pool, make up, hair etc. Yet she owns 7 swimsuits. Never once have I seen her in the water. She’ll lay by the pool/ocean, but will NOT step foot in. She makes sure to be at least 10 feet from the pool, in case she gets splashed. AND she took swimming lessons as a child.

My mom used to always say “if you look good at the beach/pool, you aren’t having fun”. LOL

sra

June 12th, 2013
1:04 pm

@ Beth, I held my tongue yesterday when you said that you couldn’t “in good conscience” take your kids to a bad part of town after dark just to watch a movie. That was an ignorant statement and just shows how little time you spend out of your suburban bubble. But today, your comments go beyond ignorant to absolutely absurd and offensive when you state that you thought “they are poor and live mostly in inner cities with a lack of swimming facilities” . Wow, did you mean all black people or just the ones whole live in scary parts of town with no fathers? I am a white, mother of four, professional who lives in town and takes my kids to all kinds of places, including the drive-in. In my world, parts of town aren’t scary just because people are different than me and I refuse to teach my kids that. As to your limited understanding of the world that only allows you to believe that black families are poor and fatherless, I hope you are not teaching your kids that. You need to get outside of your SUV, strip mall, bunko existence and expand your world view a bit.

FCM

June 12th, 2013
1:11 pm

@ Devil’s Advocate–If I make it sound like it is easy for me I apologize. My ex left me with 2 pre-school kids and 75 cents in our joint bank account 9 years ago. What I have…everything I have…is a blessing. We do not belong to a pool, but my kids did learn to swim…the various daycare programs they were in had swimming. Also our church had a camp with a pool…if they wanted to swim in the deep area they had to pass the swim test. The YMCA had the same thing with their program in the summer and spring break. My children were very proud to show me their certificates that they had passed.

Boys and Girls Club in Marietta is next door to Cobb Aquatics. They have deal that lets those kids learn to swim.

Health is already a required part of public schools. You have to take (and pass) health. I do undestand there are exceptions made due to religious reasons or parents concerns about sex ed. Much of the lifesaving skills (CPR, basic first aid, etc) can be taught in the classroom. I am suggesting we put it there since it is a logical part of the class.

penguinmom

June 12th, 2013
1:15 pm

A few years ago a friend of mine taught 2 adult black women to swim. One of them had such a fear of water, she couldn’t even get in the first year because water splashing on her face freaked her out. She spent the year getting used to the water and eventually took a water aerobics class to get used to the splashing. They were both very proud to be able to swim across the pool by the end of the lessons. Another black friend had to force her kids to take lessons (they were upper elementary-middle school age) because they were afraid to get into the water.

I do think it is something that takes effort on the part of parents to break the pattern and try to get past the fear themselves.

FCM

June 12th, 2013
1:15 pm

@ DA…btw, I am not saying oh poor me I got left with 75 cents and someone “owes” me either. I refused to succumb to victim mentality. I truly feel blessed to have what I do, including my kids.