By Sonal Parmar

swimWhen Olympic gold medalist swimmer Cullen Jones was 5 years old, he nearly drowned at the base of a waterside.  Rather than shying away from the water, Cullen’s parents signed him up for swimming lessons to strengthen his swimming skills.  Cullen survived, but others aren’t so lucky.  Nearly 3 children die from drowning in the United States each day; these children are 3 times more likely to be Black than White.  Today, Jones works to reduce the number of youth that drown by teaching them to swim and have fun in the water.

Why should I learn to swim? 

  • It saves lives—Knowing basic swimming skills may save your life or the life of a loved one.
  • Do it for your health—Swimming is a great way to improve heart and lung health.
  • Anyone can do it—Children, teens, and adults of any age or ability can take part in the fun.

Follow these tips to make sure you and your loved ones stay safe around water this summer:

  • Actively watch children when they are swimming.  Adults are often present but not actively watching children just before they drown.
  • Buddy Up!  Always swim with a partner and teach kids to never swim alone.
  • Recognize the signs of drowning.  A drowning person is struggling to breathe and may not be able to yell for help before quietly slipping under the water.
  • Never dive into water less than 9 feet deep.
  • Always lock and cover pools and spas when they are not in use. 
  • Always follow the general summer safety tips, like drinking lots of water and using sunscreen and clothing to protect your skin from the Sun.

The beaches, pools, rivers, and harbors of Boston provide city residents with great water activities and breathtaking views.  Join Cullen Jones on his mission to improve water safety across the country by learning to swim in Boston today.

Please visit our website, contact or call 617-534-5197 for more information on water safety and injury prevention.

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Sonal Parmar is a program coordinator for the Injury Prevention Program at the Boston Public Health Commission. Recently she blogged about keeping kids safe at home.