OVERLAND PARK, Kan., June 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The 10th Annual World's Largest Swimming Lesson (WLSL) is happening Thursday, June 20th. More than 50,000 kids in 30 countries on six continents are registered to participate in the anniversary lesson that takes place over the course of 24 hours.
The purpose behind the event? Provide kids AND parents exposure to life-saving skills and build awareness about the crucial need for water safety education and parental vigilance to prevent drowning.
Tragically, childhood drowning remains the leading cause of accidental death for kids ages 1-4 and the second leading cause for kids under 14 with more drowning and near-drowning accidents taking place in June than any other month.
According to a recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), in 2017, drowning claimed the lives of almost 1,000 children under the age of 20 with another 8,700 seen in emergency rooms for non-fatal drowning events. The current year has been particularly devastating for the state of Texas where they've had 39 fatal child drownings since January including 22 in the last six weeks.
"We want parents to recognize that swimming lessons, parental supervision and layers of protection are as fundamental to their child's safety as a car seat or a bike helmet," said Rick Root, President of the World Waterpark Association (WWA) which organizes the program.
Research shows participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children aged 1 to 4. The AAP updated policy released this spring encourages early participation in lessons as a vital layer of protection.
"Swimming Lessons Save Lives," said Rowdy Gaines, 3-time Olympic Gold Medalist and WLSL spokesperson. "We want everyone to know they have to Be Water Aware. Swimming lessons don't drown proof kids, but ensuring every child learns to swim is one of most crucial layers of protection a parent can provide."
About the World's Largest Swimming Lesson™ The WLSL event was launched by the World Waterpark Association in 2010. Since its inception, more than 278,000 children and adults have participated. TEAM WLSL™ has provided more than 139,250 hours of water safety training and set five Guinness World Records™ for the largest simultaneous swim lesson at multiple venues. Interviews, photos and video available on request. @TheWLSL @team_wlsl