Atlanta to play role in global event to prevent drowning

Water safety tips

Swimming is one of life’s great pleasures. It offers many health and fitness benefits, cools you off in the summer and provides a great opportunity to socialize with family and friends. Make sure you and yours stay safe in the water by being water-aware.

  • The best thing anyone can do to stay safe in and around the water is to learn to swim. This includes both adults and children.
  • Parents are the first line of defense in keeping kids safe in the water. Never leave children unattended near water, not even for a minute. If your child's in the water, you should be, too!
  • Never swim alone or in unsupervised places.
  • Teach your children to always swim with a buddy.

  • If you or a family member is a weak or nonswimmer, wear a life vest. It's nothing to be embarrassed about, and many facilities provide them at no charge.
  • It is always best to swim in an area supervised by lifeguards, but remember, lifeguards are the last line of defense when all other layers of protection fail.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages before or during swimming, boating or water skiing. Never drink alcohol while supervising children around water. Teach teenagers about the danger of drinking alcohol while swimming, boating or water skiing.
  • Teach kids not to drink the pool water. To prevent choking, never chew gum or eat while swimming, diving or playing in water.
  • Do not use air-filled swimming aids (such as "water wings") in place of life jackets or life preservers with children. Using air-filled swimming aids can give parents and children a false sense of security, which may increase the risk of drowning. These air-filled aids are toys and are not designed to be personal-flotation devices. After all, air-filled plastic tubes can deflate because they can be punctured or unplugged.
  • The American Red Cross recommends 9 feet as a minimum depth for diving or jumping.
  • Watch out for the dangerous "toos." Don't get too tired, too cold, too far from safety, exposed to too much sun or experience too much strenuous activity.
  • Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts. Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.
  • Apply sunscreen on all exposed skin to ensure maximum skin protection. Hats, visors and shirts are recommended to prevent overexposure.
  • Don't take chances by overestimating your swimming skills.

Tens of thousands of people, including more than 1,000 expected at 30 metro Atlanta locations, will jump in pools Tuesday to try to break the world’s record for the largest simultaneous swim lesson, and to save lives.

The sponsors and leaders, including Atlantan David Fox, an Olympic gold medalist in swimming, hope to draw people’s attention to the importance of teaching kids to swim.

Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1-5 and the second-leading cause of accidental death for children under 14. Research shows participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent among children ages 1 to 4, yet many kids do not receive formal swimming or water safety training.

Research shows that if a child doesn’t learn to swim by third grade, he or she likely never will.

So at 11 a.m., swimmers of all ages will take part in a simultaneous learn-to-swim curriculum at an estimated 500 pools and water parks around the globe.

Participating locations can be found

“This year’s event is really coming together thanks to our outstanding host locations and our industry partners,” said Rick Root, president of the World Waterpark Association. “We’re excited by the prospect of thousands of families receiving the crucial message that Swimming Lessons Save Lives.”

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