Closures caused by the pandemic have created another serious safety issue for San Diego children: possible drowning.
Since many schools and pools are closed, kids aren’t taking swim lessons this summer and the problem is worse in underserved communities. This has safety advocates worried.
“Learning to swim is a life skill and to be honest, the results of not knowing how to swim can be tragic,” said Buc Buchanan, President of Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego.
Buchanan’s goal is to make sure every child in San Diego learns to swim, no matter their background.
“Last year, just at Rady Children’s Hospital there were 95 fatal or non-fatal drownings,” said Buchanan.
Prevent Drowning Foundations pays special attention to kids in underserved communities.
According to USA Swimming Foundation, 79% of children where the household income is under $50,000 have little to no swimming ability. Research from USA Swimming shows 64% of Black children have little to no swimming ability, 45% for latino children, and 40% for white children.
Pool closures due to COVID-19 have added an extra risk.
“It certainly started when they opened the ocean but they had all the pools closed. The ocean is way more active and dangerous than a pool, so that’s a challenge,” said Buchanan.
While schools and pools remain closed, Prevent Drowning Foundation is still raising money and making a list of kids who need swimming lessons. If you want to donate, or want information on getting swim lessons for your child, click here.