OVERLAND PARK, Kan., June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On June 24th, an unusual global team made up primarily of children, worked together with Olympic Gold Medalists Rowdy Gaines and Janet Evans, to send a life saving message on six continents in 24 hours. Drowning is a leading cause of death for kids younger than 14 in every region of the world and it can be prevented through education and training.
In the U.S., more drowning and near-drowning accidents take place in June than any other month of the year and the July 4th holiday traditionally sees an increase in drowning accidents compared to an average week during the rest of the summer.
Early participant counts for the 2016 event indicate incredible support across the globe with lessons taking place in 24 countries on six continents, plus tens of thousands participating in 45 states in the U.S.
The World's Largest Swimming Lesson™, now in its seventh year, was created to spread the word Swimming Lessons Save Lives™. Research shows participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children aged 1-4, yet many children do not receive formal swimming or water safety training.
"Drowning is an epidemic around the world," said Janet Evans, Olympic Gold Medalist and a spokesperson for the event. "And, Team WLSL is committed to making a difference by getting the word out in local communities across the globe."
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that nearly 400 children under the age of 15 drown in a pool or spa each year, with 75 percent of those incidents involving children younger than 5. Children between the ages of 1 and 3 and African-American children between the ages of 5 and 19 are most likely to drown, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Despite research showing participation in formal swimming lessons has a significant impact on drowning risk, many children do not receive any kind of water safety training," said Olympic Gold Medalist, Rowdy Gaines. "Our goal is to spread the word that every child must learn this foundational life-saving skill."
Contact: Aleatha Ezra
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SOURCE World's Largest Swimming Lesson