Day 217 – July 26
I tend to be a paranoid parent. I’m always checking and double checking that I have my keys when I go outside. I always like to keep my babes close. I worry that they’ll disappear in a crowd. That they’ll run out in the street. That they’ll mysteriously disappear. That they’ll drown. I suppose some of these fears are founded and some aren’t.
Today, I learned that the drowning fear is pretty well founded. Did you know that African American children are three times more likely to drown than any other race? I discovered this while watching an Olympic preview on NBC. There was an interview with an African American swimmer who has made it his goal to teach young black children to swim. I was really shocked when the statistic was stated. Why would one race be so much more likely to drown than any other race? If it’s a matter of lack of funds for swim lessons, there are poor people in every race. I can’t remember who did the research, maybe U of Connecticut? Anyway, some people there conducted some interviews trying to find out why so many black children don’t know how to swim, and consequently drown. Even when offered free lessons, many parents turned them down. The biggest reason . . . . they have a fear of drowning. Quite ironic.
The report told of a family that lost three boys in one day. They had gone to a river with some other friends. One friend got in and shortly thereafter started drowning because the bottom fell out from under him. Three boys jumped in to save him, even though none of them knew how to swim. The story ended very tragically with the original boy being saved by someone from a different party, and the three brothers drowning, while the adults in the group looked on helplessly. And I say helpless, because none of them knew how to swim. Just heartbreaking!
I still don’t know why this population is more likely to have unintentional drowning deaths than others, but it’s really strengthened my resolve to expose the babes to water and teach them how to be safe in the water.
Here are two webpages with info on the drowning rates: