Worldwide drownings are at ridiculously high numbers. “1. 2 million people around the world die by drowning every year, that is more than two persons per minute. From that more than 50 percent are children. There are perhaps eight to ten times that many who experience a drowning process but who reach safety alone or are rescued by their peers, by others or by lifesavers/lifeguards. ” (Drowning Facts and Figures). It has been a strong focus to end murder and suicide for years which contributes to this overall number of recorded drownings worldwide.
Although the most over-looked health problem is nintentional drownings which can be prevented a lot easier than most people think. The CDC came to the conclusion from much research, that there are about 3,536 unintentional drownings each year in the just the United states, not including 332 boat related drownings. This averages out to about 10 deaths each day in the US that can be prevented if people just knew how to swim (Unintentional Drowning: Get the Facts).
Jacque Wilson from CNN stated that only 2% to 7% of Americans know how to swim well (Wilson, J. . Children in grade schools across the nation should be required to take swimming lessons – rovided by the school – as one of their primary education requirements, in order to decrease the number of unintentional drownings in the the United States each year. My first reason for annual swimming lessons is the fact that there are parents with lower income who cannot afford swimming lessons, and there are other parents who believe that their children know how to swim well enough, and that swimming lessons are a waste of time and money.
The mandatory swimming lessons in grade schools would provide children with the basic knowledge of water safety for free that they may not have received otherwise. With most kids, this is not a problem; if they swim regularly, are naturally good swimmers or are taught by their parents well enough to swim strongly. Although the minority (which is turning into the majority) who do not have the opportunity to be introduced to bodies of water or swimming pools regularly, suffer greatly. This percentage is a lot larger than people think.
Nolan Feeney with TIME Magazine stated in his article Almost Half of America Can’t Swim, Survey Says, states that “most Americans think they can swim just fine, but a new survey reveals that 44% don’t know basic water-safety skills. This is 44% of all Americans who can barely swim 25 yards, even though 86% claim that they know how to swim (Fenney, N. ). Aside from people refusing to take swimming lessons, there are people who just cannot afford the luxury of spending money of swimming lessons. For the first time in 50 years, the majority of kids (K – 12) in the United states live in poverty. The Southern Education Foundation reports that 51 percent of students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in the 2012-2013 school year were eligible for the federal program that provides free and reduced-price lunches. (Layton, L. )
Mandatory swimming lessons in elementary schools as part of the learning curriculum, benefits the children and families who cannot afford the luxury of lessons, and makes sure that all children receive basic knowledge and practice that they may not have received otherwise. Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths. ” (Drowning) When students are younger they don’t always understand why they are being taught what they are taught, or why they are being told something when they already now the answer, but the statistics show it! So many deaths every year reveal that not enough people know how to take care of themselves in water based situations. 1 in 4 of all unintentional drowning are those who are 14 and younger.
So that leaves 75% of all people who are old enough to know how to properly swim and are developed enough to do so. There are adults who were never near water, never taught how to swim and never cared to learn and this leads to death when they either slip off of a boat (like my father witnessed) or decide that they want to go swimming for the first time. Forcing these wimming lessons will prove that they are successful in saving lives and help those who could not afford them previously.
My second reason for annual swimming lessons is that saving people from drowning, and retrieving the bodies that have drowned, takes a lot of resources and puts people who are trying to save someone from drowning, and search and rescue teams and firefighters, in danger. I recently had a close friend of mine, disappear off of the coast on a beach in Oregon this last February. Search and rescue was in helicopters in boats and on the beach and rocks looking for her body. Friends that were with her said that she had fallen in the water and the rip tide carried her away.
My friend Megan was not a strong swimmer, and I had known this since we were 11 years old at pool parties. She would never go into the deep end because her parents said she couldn’t swim well and had never learned. Officials say that the current must have take her too far out and she must have drowned due to exhaustion and not being able to swim long enough for the rip current to end (rip current are like rivers in the ocean and eventually end, allowing someone to then swim ack to shore without a current pushing them back).
The search and rescue team were trying to locate her for over 24 hours when they called off the search. One member of the team even fell off the boat because the swells were so strong at one point, and he had to be taken to the hospital. Me and everyone who knew her misses her everyday. My dad gave me more insight on how many resources are required to retrieve drowning victims from the water. He explained to me that one day, the Monroe Fire Department was trying to get a girl out of the river who had drowned. She was sucked under water arched over a log.
Pulling someone out of the river is a lot hard than it sounds because, “even a river that looks calm on the surface can have a fast under current and that’s dangerous. ” (Gerstacker, D. ) The local Monroe Fire Department had to bring in a helicopter, rafts, two water rescue boats, and 50 firefighters all working together to get this girl out of the river and he said it took about 12 hours. I witnessed the amount of resources that it takes first hand when I personally witnessed a boy drown in Lake Tye here in Monroe.
It was three summers ago and there was a large family reunion. A boy and his cousin tried swimming to the center of the lake and the younger 12 year old boy ran out of gas and his cousin couldn’t keep him afloat. It is a miracle that the older boy did not drown himself because most people trying to save someone who is drowning, drown themselves. The reason for this is that when someone is drowning, they will grab on everything and anything to bring them back to the surface, even if it is the person trying to save them, often holding them underwater. Swimming to someone who’s drowning and trying to take hold of them is dangerous even for professionals. There’s a reason hy lifeguards carry those orange plastic buoys, and it’s not their need to accessorize. Throwing a drowning person something to keep them afloat, so they don’t hang on you, is essential. ” (Esther Inglis-Arkell) I did not see the part with the boys struggling. Nobody did, until the boy started sinking slowly to the bottom of Lake Tye, and his cousin screaming for help in spanish. Me and my friends heard the screaming and helped the family call 911.
My uncle showed up on the call with an ambulance, a water rescue boat, many first responders, and a ton of equipment. My uncle and the others, swam 40 feet with xygen tanks and brought the boy out of the water and onto shore and immediately started CPR. It was too late, even with the fire department getting there in 3 minutes. We watched the boy die in front of us and we still do not talk about it to this day. There were so many first responders on scene with so much equipment, risking their lives to get this boy out of the water.
My third reason for mandatory swimming lessons is the emotional toll that drownings bring to friends, families, lifeguards, firefighters, and anyone who witnessed it. “Drowning deaths and other losses in the aquatic setting are always udden, unexpected and deeply traumatizing for surviving family members, friends, and witnesses who may have watched, helplessly, as an incident unfolded, or tried to rescue someone. ” (Rigg, N. R. ) I know that watching someone drown right in front of me, and losing a friend to water is emotionally tolling enough.
I also see firsthand how it affects my dad and uncle when they tell me about what they have to do. It’s sad that any parent has to see or hear that there child drowned because they didn’t know how to swim. It is possibly even more sad that teenagers and young adults drown when they should already know how to swim. The drowning of anyone has a major emotional affect on their family, friends, the people witnessing it, firefighters and search and rescue, and lifeguards that were supposed to keep them safe. One reason that people would disapprove of the annual swimming tests, is the money loss that comes with it.
Most schools do not own personal swimming pools for their use, and local YMCA’s and other pools would lose profit since people would no longer pay for swim lessons. Most high schools that do not own swimming pools for the use of the community, still have swim teams and bus them to local YMCA’s or local pools. Elementary schools paying to use the local pools through would make up for any money lost by the local pools. Paying taxes for swimming lessons would eventually even out for not having to pay more taxes for water rescue.
What if having kids take swimming lessons sparks a child’s love for swimming, and they then went to the local pool everyday? Swimming Injury Statistics report that, “medical costs for near-drowning victims 14 and younger can cost more than $8,000 for initial hospital treatment, and those costs could soar to more than $250,000 each year if long-term care is needed. If the drowning-related injury results in brain damage, the overall cost of medical treatment, and work and quality of life losses could cost as much as $5. 5 million. (Swimming Injury Statistics).
If these annual swimming lessons in grade school took place, these costs would no longer be present. Money towards taxes for swimming lessons are much more worth it than the medical bills for a child’s preventable newfound disabilities and injuries. All of the costs would eventually even-out one way or another, so it is not a big issue to pay a little extra money in order to save lives. Losing a little bit of business is worth saving the lives of friends, family and co-workers if that is what is comes to.
A second reason that people may argue against swimming lessons in schools is that some children are hydrophobic, or have no aquatic ability, and would be embarrassed to take the annual swimming lessons in front of their peers. “According to the USA Swimming Foundation, about 70 percent of AfricanAmerican children, 60 percent of Latino children and 40 percent of white children are non swimmers. Lack of access and financial constraints account only partly for these numbers. Fear, cultural factors and even cosmetic issues play a role as well. (Brody, J. E. )
The percentage of students who have true hydrophobia and no aquatic ability is very small. This makes even more important to get these kinds of children in the water. Young children may be embarrassed if the word gets out that they don’t swim well, but how is this any different than test scores, driving tests, or other activities that all children go through? These swimming lessons are important because they save lives in the future, even if the children do not know it yet.
Making kids practice their swimming only makes them better, like anything else in life. It is common logic that a child should rather be a little embarrassed that he has trouble swimming rather than paying the price a year later at a pool party. A third reason why people would be against swimming lessons in schoo ols, is that the teacher to student ratio does not allow the kids to properly learn how to swim. In previous paragraphs, I mentioned that local pools may lose profit. Along with this, the swimming instructors would also be out of their jobs.
Although having mandatory swimming lessons in schools would open up a ton more positions! Having this, each class growing up was about 26 kids per class, having all of the swimming instructors looking for jobs, offers the ratio to go down, allowing more learning for students. Like I said before, the whole situation evens itself out with more benefits than losses. On average it takes about 1 to 3 years (30 minutes twice a week) for children under the age of 12 to learn how to swim well enough to save them in situations claims USA Swimming.
If grade school students were required to participate in swim lessons, say once a week for an hour, every school year which is about 9 months, this is well enough time for the slower kids to tap into their inner fish and most likely save their lives, or save them from trauma and injury in the future. “Participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent among children aged one to four years. (Source: Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 2009)”.
My point in that fact is that even if the ratio is not an ideal 1 to 7, the extended period of practice over their grade school years is bound to make up for the loss. Practice makes permanent. In conclusion, mandatory swimming lessons in grade schools would allow kids and soon adults to swim safely and strongly. Free and mandatory swimming lessons help those who obviously drown every year due to their inability to strongly swim, swim at all or are unable to pay for swim lessons, the friends and family and other affected emotionally by the experience, and save resources and puts the rescuers out of danger.
Swimming is a basic need that is required for survival at times. Everyone should learn how to swim without having to pay for it. These mandatory swimming lessons will decrease the number of drownings each year significantly over the course of 100 years because each generation would get better and better at their swimming abilities. Murder and suicide cannot always be stopped when its relating to drowning, but kids CAN be taught how to swim to avoid the unintentional drownings, which is a large percentage of the total number of drownings. Saving money and lives.