OVERLAND PARK, Kan., June 22, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Thousands of children at more than 600 locations in 27 countries, from Australia to Zimbabwe, Bahrain to Brazil, and Panama to Poland, came together today to help spread an important safety message in their communities, Swimming Lessons Save Lives™.
The 8th Annual World's Largest Swimming Lesson (WLSL) took place at waterparks, community pools and swim schools in 47 states in the US as the summer season officially kicked off. The purpose of the events? Provide kids AND parents exposure to life-saving water safety skills and build awareness about the vital importance of parental vigilance and teaching children to swim to help prevent drowning.
"Seeing so many kids from so many different cultures, all focused on this same mission is really inspiring," said Rowdy Gaines, 3-time Olympic Gold Medalist and champion for the WLSL event. "The World's Largest Swimming Lesson™ is a perfect way to engage with the community and help people understand how crucially important it is to learn how to float, roll-over, recover your breath and swim to an exit to prevent drowning."
Tragically, in the US, drowning remains the leading cause of accidental death for kids ages 1-4 and the second leading cause for kids under the age of 14, due in large part, to a lack of basic water safety and swimming skills and a lack of constant adult supervision while kids are in the water. Internationally, the World Health Organization estimates drowning is one of the top five causes of death for people aged 1-14 in 48 of the 85 countries it monitors.
In 2014, the American Red Cross, one of WLSL's supporting organizations, found more than half of Americans (54 percent) either can't swim or don't have foundational swimming skills needed to prevent drowning.
The WLSL is working to change that. Since its inception in 2010, almost 200,000 children have participated in WLSL lessons, and organizers have shared the importance of swim lessons more than half a billion times. By 2019, organizers hope to make more than one billion people fully aware of the importance of enrolling children in swim lessons.
WLSL 2018 takes place on June 21st.
The World's Largest Swimming Lesson was created by the World Waterpark Association. Visit www.wlsl.org to learn more. Photos/video available on request.