Alexandria, VA (July 21, 2022) – With two pandemic summers behind us, previous COVID-related precautions may have kept kids away from the pool and subsequent swimming lessons. Now as many families flock to the water to navigate the record-breaking heat, Step Into Swim -- a water safety initiative of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) -- reminds parents to take proper steps to protect children and be mindful of swimming safety in recognition of National Drowning Prevention Day on Monday, July 25.
“Going to the pool as a family is a great way to spend time together while trying to cool off in the summer sun. Swimming should be fun, but caregivers need to ensure children are also safe around the water,” 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 drowning rate in the U.S. remains high, especially among those ages 1 to 4. I encourage parents and caregivers to sign children up for professional swimming lessons and practice water safety at all times.”
Extreme heat has resulted in alerts and advisories across the country, prompting some community pools in the U.S. to extend hours of operation since swimming is one way people are trying to beat the heat. The high drowning rate paired with the pandemic-related impact of children missing out on swimming lessons over the past two years means Step Into Swim is urging people to practice safe swimming behaviors.
Swimming education is critical. In fact, learning to swim from a qualified instructor can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% for children ages 1 to 4. This is lifesaving information parents need to know. In a survey conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of PHTA among 606 parents of kids 14 and under, 83% of parents 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.
For those who plan to venture to the nearest body of water for traditional summer fun, there are best practices Step Into Swim encourages parents to follow to help keep their children safe in the water and in the heat.
For more resources and information, visit www.StepIntoSwim.org.
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 www.phta.org.
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 www.stepintoswim.org.