WEST ORANGE, NJ — With the “good old summertime” now within reach, it's almost time to share time outdoors with friends and families at parties, barbecues, the local swimming pool, nearby lake or the ocean. With swimming pool openings approaching, the British Swim School is urging the public to remember that safety—and particularly water safety—remains a concern when it comes to loved ones, especially small children.  

With more than 38 years of experience, The British Swim School has become a leader in water safety and survival for children of all ages. The British Swim School NJ The Oranges offers free water-safety presentations to all local community schools, preschools and day care centers from their Livingston and Clifton locations.

Through the use of fun and interactive activities, the local swim school teaches children and their parents the importance of being safe in and around the water.

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The British Swim School is passionate about Water Safety Education. The school shared the following facts while also debunking some myths about drowning:

  •     Drownings or near-drownings can happen to anyone.
  •     Most drownings are silent.
  •     It can happen in less than 20 seconds.
  •     Drowning is the No. 1 cause of accidental death for children between the ages of 1-4. (CDC)
  •     It can happen in less than 1 inch of water. (CDC)

Seventy percent of preschool drownings happen while the child is in the care of one or both parents. In 75 percent of the cases, the child was missing from sight for five minutes or less, according to the Orange County, Calif. Fire Authority.

According to American Red Cross, only 56 percent of adults who say they can swim are able to perform five critical water safety skills.

Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that most children over the age of one may be at a lower risk of drowning if they have had some formal swimming instruction.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s latest data shows there were, on average, 351 reported fatal child drownings in pools and spas in 2015 involving children younger than 15. Of those, 266 (or 76 percent) involved children younger than five.

Annually, 73 percent of the hospital emergency room-treated nonfatal drowning injuries (2015-2017) involved children younger than five, according to the report, and male children younger than 15 had twice as many fatal drownings as female children of the same age.

From 2015 through 2017, an estimated average of 6,400 children younger than 15 years old were reportedly treated in hospital emergency rooms for nonfatal drowning injuries in pools or spas.

Between 2015 and 2017, residential locations made up 74 percent of reported fatal drowning incidents, and at last 45 percent of reported nonfatal drowning incidents for children younger than 15.

In addition, residential locations dominated reported incidents involving victims younger than five, with 54 percent of nonfatal drowning injuries among that age group from 2015 through 2017–and 85 percent for fatal drownings from 2013 through 2015—all occurring at a residence.

The majority of the estimated hospital emergency room-treated, nonfatal drowning injuries for 2015 through 2017, and the reported fatal drownings for 2013 through 2015 were associated with pools (versus spas).

For more information, call the British Swim School in Livingston or Clifton at (201) 895-8595.

What can be done to lower drowning risks? See Part 2 of The British Swim School’s informational series, coming soon.