Swimming Lessons Are Good For Everyone Especially Minority Children

by Pool Builders on 06-20-2011 in Articles

Did you know that very few disadvantaged and minority children take swimming lessons and they are commonly deathly afraid of the water because their families and cultures generally do not expose children to swimming at a young age?

Anxiety, among other factors, contribute to only a small percentage of African-American and Hispanic children having the know-how and skills to be accomplished and confident swimmers.

Study by USA Swimming

USA Swimming conducted a study of nearly 2,000 minority children to see if they could determine the reasons why there are fewer minority children learning to swim than Caucasian children. The drowning statistics of African-American children is staggering! African-American children die due to drowning three times more often than Caucasian children between the ages of 5 and 14.

The study also indicated that only about 40% of the Hispanic children interviewed had any swimming skills at all and even those were self-taught, which could very well mean they don't possess a strong skill set.

What are the reasons for the fear of the water? The top reason for minority children to not engage in swim lessons is that their parents either don't know how to swim or had an unhealthy fear of the water that they passed down to their children.

The second most often reason quoted was that swim lessons are cost-prohibitive for many of the families interviewed. However, even if lessons were offered for free in their community, many parents wouldn't allow their children to take advantage of them because they were afraid their children might drown.

Many children of Hispanic and African-American descent don't have access to a pool nearby, making it logistically more difficult to learn how to swim.

A third reason quoted was some reluctance to engage in swimming stemming from concerns that chlorine can damage naturally fragile hair - making it more likely to break.

Benefits of Swimming Lessons for Minority Children
Fewer deaths from drowning in these ethnic groups - most important benefit!

  • Confidence building in children so they can teach their children and possibly inspire their
  • parents to learn as well
  • Encourages physical strength, better motor skills, and stronger cognitive skills
  • Physical well-being is better - weight control and higher levels of fitness
  • Life skills - self-motivation, determination, and willingness to learn new skills. All of
  • these can help children take steps to make their lives better and happier.

Swimmers - Caring for Your Hair

In actuality, caring for your hair when you are swimming regularly is really no different between ethnic groups.

Yes, chlorine can damage hair if you don't care for it properly, but there are steps you can take to keep your hair healthy and shiny even if you're swimming every day.

1. Rinse your hair before and after getting into and out of the pool.
2. Cover your hair with conditioner and wear a swim cap while in the water.
3. Use special products for protecting hair while swimming.

These simple steps will eliminate the worry of damaging your hair from swimming.

Treat your skin with a healthy layer of lotion after you've showered so your skin is moisturized following a dip in the pool.

The Bottom Line

More communities need to get actively involved in offering swimming lessons to minorities and disadvantaged kids so that they can be more confident and accomplished in this area. Some are already doing so, but if you know your community needs a swim program specifically for minorities, why not get it rolling?

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