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According to the USA Swimming Foundation, 70 percent of African-Americans lack basic swim skills. In an effort to change that alarming statistic, Safe Kids Worldwide teamed up with Black Kids Swim to produce a Gary on the Street video featuring African-American kids who swim competitively.
I am convinced my son, Winston, was born with gills. He delights in all things water: oceans, rivers, pools, baths, even our plastic baby pool – he loves them all.
At six years of age and with dozens of swim lessons under his belt, I cautiously say Winston can swim. Just last week, at our community pool, he jumped off a diving board into the deep end and swam to the side unaided. He proceeded to repeat this 10 times in an hour.
I’m a big guy. At six foot eight, it’s hard to believe that there is much of anything that scares me. What’s more, I’m an athlete. My entire life, I’ve been taught to put myself out there and take chances on the court. When I joined the NBA in 2005, I took the skills that I developed in college to the next level. Playing on the professional level you can’t allow yourself to be intimidated by other players or the pressure of the cheering crowds.
How to Watch Kids Around Water
- Watch kids when they are in or around water. Keep young children and weak swimmers within arm’s reach of an adult.
Whenever I am asked if I know how to swim, my immediate response is “I know how to not drown.”
I started interning at Safe Kids Worldwide about three weeks ago. Since then I’ve learned many things. I’ve learned that drinking one 20 ounce bottle of Coke is equivalent to eating 18 cookies – so it’s not the best way to hydrate when playing sports. I’ve learned that the Starbucks Baristas in our building will write down whatever they think they heard when they ask for your name. My name is Kendall Reed but based on my frappuccino order, you can call me “Q.”
Q. I’m really excited for our family vacation to the beach this summer. I have two teenagers – a 13-year-old son and a 15-year-old daughter. Both are good, safe swimmers, who I trust in our backyard pool. Does that mean they should be fine in the ocean as well?
It’s great your kids are confident swimmers at home. While that experience is a good start at the ocean (or in other places like lakes), there are some important differences that you and your kids will want to talk about before everyone hits the beach.
by Kaitlyn Recchiuti
How to Watch Kids Around Water
- Watch kids when they are in or around water, without being distracted. Young children can drown in as little as one inch of water, so it’s important to keep them within an arm’s reach of an adult.
As temperatures rise this summer, many families take to the water. But did you know that drowning remains one of the leading causes of preventable deaths for children in the U.S., with nearly 800 deaths each year? Help us change this and make the water a safe place for our kids to play.
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