Multifaceted approach to increase water competency
TrishaKorioth, Staff Writer
For Your Information
Summertime means swimming for many families. But for some caregivers, the thought
of swimming triggers fears of drowning.
The fear is not unfounded, particularly among African-American families. Drowning
fatalities are 5.5 times higher for African-American than Caucasian youths.
When counseling patients about water competency, the Academy supports a multifaceted
approach that includes self-awareness, water skills and helping others. Pediatricians
can help guide families faced with swimming disparities. The ideal combination involves
supplementing swim lessons for children with education for caregivers and addressing
their fears with solutions. This approach was found to change perceptions of water-related
threat and improve self-efficacy, according to a recent study (http://bit.ly/2Jmi2bd).
Free swimming lesson locators and organizations that address swimming disparities
are linked to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Pool Safety website, http://bit.ly/2Jn5ws7.
Need a visual aid? Print and share a new water safety poster that illustrates three
parts of water competence (water smarts, water skills, helping others) and three common
hazards (no supervision, shallow diving, rip currents), http://bit.ly/2Hr2QaT.