Summer swimming dangers more crucial for minorities - News, Weather & Sports

Summer swimming dangers more crucial for minorities

Steve Tarver Steve Tarver

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Every day, approximately 10 people die from unintentional drowning. Of those 10, the Centers for Disease Control said two are children age 14 or younger.  

According to the CDC, African American kids are three times more likely to drown than their white counterparts.  

Decades after Jim Crow segregation, African Americans are narrowly represented in the water. The USA Swimming Foundation says seventy percent of African-American and sixty percent of Hispanic children cannot swim.  

The risk of drowning goes down with formal swimming lessons, but it is challenging to get the people who need lessons the most into the classes.  

"There are populations that are challenged by access, transportation and income," said Steve Tarver, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Louisville.  

To combat the problem the YMCA plans to break ground on a facility in west Louisville in the next six months.  

"An aquatic center will be the centerpiece of that facility that we hope will open new doors," said Tarver.  

The YMCA offers classes on a sliding fee scale to help lower-income households absorb the cost of lessons.  

According to USA Swimming, if a parent does not know how to swim there is only a 13 percent chance that a child in that household will learn how to swim. Parents and children can learn to swim together at the Y.

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