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Event Encourages Swim Lessons for Kids

By Evelina Burnett | Published 19 Jun 2013 01:10pm | comments
Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/gert74/158186164/

Mississippi has the third-highest rate in the nation of accidental drowning among children under the age of 14. But an event today is attempting to change this statistic by encouraging kids to learn to swim.

Children take swim lessons at Gulf Islands Water Park in Gulfport. Today, a different kind of swim lesson will fill this wave pool -- the Worlds Largest Swimming Lesson, which will take place here and around the world, at 1500 GMT – that’s 10 a.m. Mississippi time. Some 35,000 participants in 15 countries are expected. Event organizer Beth Root says they hope to spreadx the message that swimming lessons can save lives.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has found that kids under the age of five account for more than 75 percent of all pool and spa deaths. African American and Hispanic children age 5 to 14 are at a higher risk of drowning, and 70 percent of African American children and 62 percent of Hispanic children can’t swim. Commission spokeswoman Patty Davis says that’s why they are encouraging parents to put swim lessons at the top of their to-do list this summer. She adds that nothing can replace parental supervision, however. 

During today’s event, which is organized by the World Waterpark Association, participants will get a brief lesson on swim and water safety basics. Gulf Island waterpark general manager Mark Moore says 80 to 100 people will participate at this location. In addition to Gulfport, there will be event sites in Biloxi and Meridian.

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Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/gert74/158186164/


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