Children are enjoying the pool as much as they can this summer. According to the Center for Disease Control, drowning is a lead cause of death in young children, but the Red Cross says only a little more than half of Americans can swim.
Summer may be coming to a close but kids are soaking up as much time at the pool as they can, but the CDC says there are about ten deaths caused by drowning every day. They say it is one of the leading causes of death for children that is because many people do not actually know how to swim, though there were some strong swimmers at the East Macon Community Center.
Many of the kids we asked at the public pool say they learned how to swim, but that many people they know never learned. The American Red Cross says a survey found that only 56% of Americans can perform the five core swimming skills which includes things like treading water and swimming 25 yards.
The Glorious Hope Church camp and the Men About Change group come to the pool every Wednesday.
"But we do try to take them out, teach them how to kick, teach them how to float, and teach them the techniques to swimming. The more they can swim, the less likely they are to die in a water accident,” says camp teacher Keisha Fleming.
According to the U.S.A. Swimming Foundation, 70% of African American and 60% of Hispanic children do not know how to swim. Fleming says that is changing over time.
"We have more opportunities to go swimming now, so that it makes it more useful for us to do it. It's a big family thing now. If you don't do anything but learn to play, they eventually can learn to swim even if they self-teach themselves,” explains Fleming.
It's a skill that may take a little practice, but could make a big difference for a child in a water accident. The East Macon Community Center offers swim lessons, but they have been so popular they are all booked up. Fort Valley State University's sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho, is also hosting a free swim clinic Saturday July 15, 2017 starting at 11 a.m. for ages 5 to 18.