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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Teach Yo' Kids How To Swim -- African American Children Are 5.5 Times More Likely To Drown

African American child swimming

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is a leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, and the highest rates are among children. Almost 400 children die every year by drowning, and most of these children die in swimming pools.

Drowning rates higher among Black children

Further research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also shows that the death by drowning rate is considerably higher among Black youth. In fact, among Black children age 5 - 19, the rate is 5.5 times higher than white children the same age. Why?

Potential reasons for the disparity

A lack of basic swimming skills is often cited as the primary reason why most children die from drowning. According to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent. But why do more Black children die from drowning? Potential reasons for the increase among Black youth is attributed to the fact that many more Black children do not know how to swim. They often lack access to facilities where swim lessons are taught. They are also less likely to view the importance of swimming lessons as a life-saving tool.

The facts are real

USA Swimming, the national governing body for swimming as a sport in the United States, compiled even more statistics on African American and other minority children and found that children from minority populations who are between the ages of 5 and 14 are three times more likely to drown than white children. The statistics also showed that among white children, 40 percent do not know how to swim, compared to 70 percent of African American children and 60 percent of Hispanic children.

Reading may be fundamental, but learning how to swim is life-saving!
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