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PHTA Finds Only 54% of Parents of Kids 14 and Under Plan to Enroll Their Children in Formal Swimming Lessons This Year

Alexandria, VA (May 2, 2022) – In recognition of National Water Safety Month in May, the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) and its Step Into Swim initiative, a program committed to safe swim education, reveal results of its national survey about swimming safety concerns and share tips for keeping kids safer in the water. With drowning as the leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 4,1 these efforts underscore the importance of swimming education, instilling confidence in young swimmers and empowering parents to foster safe practices in the water.

The survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of PHTA among 606 parents of kids 14 and under, and showed parents are concerned about their children’s safety and swimming abilities in the pool. 83% of parents who have kids ages 14 and under are confident in their child's ability to be safe in the water, yet 65% say they are concerned about their child drowning in a pool. Despite these concerns, only 54% plan to enroll their child in formal swimming lessons this year.

Other key survey findings show that among parents who have a child ages 14 or under:

  • 81% of parents said they and their family have access to a pool, most commonly a community or public swimming pool (33%)
  • 46% of parents do not plan to enroll their child in formal swimming lessons this year, with 19% saying they have no plans to do so even though their child has never had formal swimming lessons
  • Less than half of parents (48%) are confident in their own swimming abilities, only 33% have had formal swimming lessons, and just one quarter (25%) are CPR certified
  • Dads (92%) are significantly more likely than moms (74%) to have confidence in their child's ability to be safe in the water, and also more likely than moms to say they plan to enroll their child in formal swimming lessons this year (62% vs. 45% respectively)

"We know parents are concerned about water safety. Teaching our kids how to swim is a critical first step in keeping them safe," said Rowdy Gaines, three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and Vice President of Partnerships and Development at PHTA who is leading the Step Into Swim initiative. "The CDC recently reported higher drowning rates in the U.S., which means we need to continue talking about important safety measures and encourage parents to take action for a safe and healthy summer season around the water."

Understanding the data around parental perceptions and concerns about swimming safety reinforces the need for swimming lessons as a lifesaving skill, especially with rising drowning rates.

There are best practices parents can follow to help keep their children safe in the water, such as:

  • Enroll your child in swimming lessons. Learning to swim from a qualified instructor reduces the risk of drowning by 88% among children ages 1 - 4.2
  • Enact multiple layers of protection, including pool covers, fencing, locked doors and safety alarms.
  • Keep toys away from water as these can be distractions for young children and cause an accidental fall.
  • Designate a water watcher to keep a close eye on children. Assign adults to take supervision shifts, which may help minimize distractions. 
  • Only practice safe swimming behaviors, such as entering the pool feet first and walking instead of running. Children should not engage in extended breath-holding activities underwater as these types of games are dangerous.

National Water Safety Month is a timely opportunity to ensure parents have the tools and swimming safety tips they need to have a safe summer in the water with their families. And while the start to summer is an exciting time for all, Step Into Swim is committed to swimming safety year-round, along with its major founding partner Every Child A Swimmer. 

“As part of our efforts to create more swimmers, Step Into Swim is focused on sharing essential swimming education resources and funding learn-to-swim programs during National Water Safety Month and beyond,” said Sabeena Hickman, President and CEO of PHTA. “We are proud to work with key partners and advocates across the country who support Step Into Swim’s mission and want to create safer opportunities for the next generation of swimmers.”

For safety tips and resources, visit


About the Survey Method:

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of PHTA from March 31-April 4, 2022 among 606 U.S. adults ages 18 and older who are parents of kids 14 and under. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within + 2.8 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Amy Willer at PHTA.

About Pool & Hot Tub Alliance and Step Into Swim:

The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), a non-profit organization with nearly 3,500 members from around the world, was established in 1956 to support, promote, and protect the common interests of the $36.5B pool, hot tub, and spa industry. PHTA provides education, advocacy, standards development, research, and market growth to increase our members’ professionalism, knowledge, and profitability. PHTA facilitates the expansion of 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 285,000 children with support from community organizations, partners, industry advocates, members and more. For more information, visit


1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Drowning Data.

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





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