ANALYSIS: Save Our Black Children From Drowning, Teach Them to Swim

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Black children are dying at a startling rate, not just by gunfire on the streets – but they are now six times more likely to drown in swimming pools than white children the same age.

The statistics are deeply disturbing.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product  Safety Commission’s new pool safety report, African American and Hispanic children from five the 14 years old are at greater risk of drowning in a pool.

Here are a few sobering highlights from CPSC report:

•       Children between the ages of 1 and 3 represented 67 percent of reported fatalities and 64 percent of injuries.

•       African American children between the ages of 5 and 14 are six times more likely to drown in pools than white and Hispanic children that age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

•       Data from USA Swimming indicate that 70 percent of African American children and 62 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim, making them more likely to drown.

“Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children between the ages of 1 and 4 and minority children drown in pools at an alarming rate,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “The lives of countless children can be saved this summer.  Take simple safety steps today—teach all children to swim, put a fence around all pools, and always watch children in and around the water.”

In August, CPSC will host a booth for the first time at the Tom Joyner Family Reunion in Orlando, Florida where CPSC representatives will distribute safety information to the community as well as work on safety outreach in the community.

A few years ago, I wrote a column about black children drowning in pools across the country and I pleaded with black parents to teach their children how to swim. Sadly, the situation seems to be getting worse, more black children are drowning, and I find myself making the same plea again today.

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