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Enrolling Your Children In Swim Lessons & Practicing Proper Swim Safety Can Prevent Drowning During Peak Swim Season

Step Into Swim Led by Olympian Rowdy Gaines highlights the importance of swim education and supervision around water

ALEXANDRIA, VA. (July 2, 2024) – Drowning is preventable and yet it happens every day. In fact, drowning is the leading cause of death in young children between the ages of 1 and 4 in the U.S..[1] As the risk for drowning increases during peak swim season, Step Into Swim, a non-profit initiative of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) dedicated to creating more swimmers through safe swim education, is warning families of the threats and empowering them to practice proper swim safety as they head to pools, beaches or lakes this summer.

“Drowning is on the rise across the U.S. and it’s so heartbreaking for me when I learn about families who have lost a child to drowning because I know their pain was preventable,” said Rowdy Gaines, three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and Vice President of Partnerships and Development at PHTA who leads the Step Into Swim initiative. “For parents looking for the best way to protect their child, swim lessons are the answer and a necessary tool for keeping kids safe in the water. Learning to swim is a lifesaving skill that instills confidence and empowers our children so they can thrive in the water.”

This summer swim season, Step Into Swim is reminding families of three key focus areas to prevent drowning:

  • Swim Lessons: Formal swim lessons from a qualified instructor can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children ages 1 – 4.[2] Swim lessons can provide children with essential skills like teaching them how to float on their back which can be lifesaving if a child falls in the water accidentally.
  • Undistracted Adult Supervision: Did you know that up to 88% of drownings happen when an adult is present?[3] Drowning can happen in as little as 30 seconds which is the same amount of time a parent can be distracted answering a text or watching a TikTok video. Dedicating an undistracted water watcher while children are in or near the water is considered the first line of defense for drowning prevention.
  • Layers of Protection: While adult supervision is the best line of defense, there are several layers of protection families should consider including the use of certified life jackets when out on bodies of water and incorporating proper fencing, safety covers and alarms around pools.  

Thanks to generous financial contributions from donors, Step into Swim distributes grants to learn-to-swim programs across the U.S. to provide free and reduced-cost swim lessons to children in underserved communities. Those interested in supporting Step Into Swim’s life-saving mission can donate at:

For more swim safety tips, a list of qualified swim schools around the U.S. and other resources, visit


About the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance and Step Into Swim:
The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), a non-profit organization with over 3,900 members from around the world, was established in 1956 to support, promote, and protect the common interests of the $62B pool, hot tub, and spa industry. PHTA provides education, advocacy, standards development, research, and market growth initiatives to increase our members’ professionalism, knowledge, and profitability. Additionally, PHTA promotes the use of pools by expanding swimming, water safety, and related research and outreach activities aimed at introducing more people to swimming, making swimming environments safer, and keeping pools open to serve communities. For more information, visit

Step Into SwimTM is an initiative of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance and its foundation committed to safe swim education and drowning prevention. By investing in the next generation of swimmers through learn-to-swim programming, the Step Into Swim initiative instills confidence, empowers long-term participation in water activities, touts the positive benefits of water play, and advocates for safe practices. Since its inception in 2012, Step Into Swim has played a role in reducing drowning fatalities and has gifted swim lessons to more than 330,000 children with support from community organizations, partners, industry advocates, members, and more. For more information, visit

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Drowning Facts.

[2] Brenner, R. A., et al. (2009). Association Between Swimming Lessons and Drowning in Childhood: A Case-Control Study. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

[3] National Drowning Prevention Alliance, Drowning Quick Facts

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