In recognition of National Water Safety Month, the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) and its Step Into Swim initiative, a program committed to creating more swimmers through safe swim education, announced the results from their second annual national survey conducted by The Harris Poll to shed light on parental swimming concerns and awareness of drowning prevention education.
By some estimates, (https://pubmed. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/ 19255386/) learning to swim from a qualified instructor reduces the drowning rate by 88 percent among children ages 1 to 4, the same age group impacted most by drowning deaths.
The PHTA’s survey revealed that 60 percent of parents who have a child age 14 or under plan to enroll their child in formal swimming lessons this year, an increase from last year’s 54 percent. While 83 percent of parents who have a child age 14 or under are confident in their child’s ability to be safe in the water, many parents (60 percent) incorrectly assume that someone who is drowning will draw attention to themselves by splashing and screaming. This underscores the importance of swim safety, especially considering 28 percent of parents who have a child age 14 or under know someone impacted by a drowning incident.
Sabeena Hickman, President and CEO of PHTA, says that even with an increase in swimming lesson enrollment, there is a knowledge gap about drowning prevention.
“Step Into Swim works tirelessly to bridge that gap by improving access to swim education across the country and advocating for water safety with support from our many industry partners who share our passion for creating more swimmers,” she said.
Additional survey findings show that among parents who have a child age 14 or under:
• 52 percent say they are aware of places that offer local swim lessons for their family.
• Despite 78 percent who say they have access to a pool, only 35 percent are concerned about their child drowning in a pool.
• 52 percent are confident in their own swimming abilities, 37 percent have had formal swim lessons, and 29 percent are CPR certified.
• 66 percent incorrectly believe floaties and water wings keep children safe.
When it comes to types of water access, 56 percent of parents who have a child age 14 or under would allow their child to swim in open water like a lake or ocean without a certified lifeguard on duty. Only 16 percent of parents are comfortable letting their child swim without adult supervision. Supervision is a critical layer of protection, because drowning can happen in the time it takes to send a text message, a fact known by 88 percent of parents who have a child age 14 or under.
Rowdy Gaines, a three-time Olympic gold medalist who leads the PHTA’s Step Into Swim Initiative, says that learning to swim is a lifesaving skill that instills confidence and empowers the next generation of safe swimmers.
“As we head into the summer with lots of opportunities to be around water, it’s important to keep the top focus areas of water safety in mind, including awareness, education, training and preparedness. Together, we can create a safer environment for everyone to enjoy the water,” he said.
For swim safety tips and resources, 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 April 13-17, 2023, among 636 U.S. parents aged 18+ who have a child ages 14 or 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 +/- 4.4 percentage points using a 95 percent confidence level. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, contact Amy Willer at PHTA.