Today, we join the United States Swim School Association in commending the State of California for recognizing the importance of drowning prevention as a public health need. In a recent update regarding COVID-19 restrictions, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) deemed swim lessons an essential service, stating:

“Drowning prevention classes, including swim lessons with certified instructors, are permitted in indoor and outdoor swimming pools in all tiers, as they are deemed essential.”

This designation is a big stride forward, and one that we hope other states will take heed of in light of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ concerns regarding the increased risk of childhood drownings during the pandemic.

Taking the lives of three US children every day, drowning remains the number one cause of injury-related death for children ages 1-4. And, with states like Florida, Texas, Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan all reporting increases in the number of drowning-related accidents this year, the ability for children to learn lifesaving swim skills remains critically important.

Having been shown to reduce the risk of drowning by 88%, swim lessons are essential to saving lives, and are a key component for drowning prevention. And with the ability to provide a controlled learning environment, industry experts have deemed indoor pools far superior at minimizing virus transmission than most other indoor spaces. Yet despite this data, learn-to-swim facilities remain closed in some parts of the country.

While we’re encouraged by California’s recent decision and remain hopeful that other states will follow suit, there is still so much that can be done to spread the important message of water safety.

That’s why we continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the USA Swimming Aquatics Coalition, supporting all efforts to educate public officials about the importance of continuing to provide children with access to lifesaving swim lessons in a safe and responsible manner.

As we all work toward the shared goal of improving our community’s health and well-being, we’re proud to see leaders, like the California Coalition for Children’s Safety and Health (CCCSH), stepping forward in agreement that drowning prevention can be done safely, even during this pandemic.

Through awareness and education, we can all do our part to create a safer future for our children. Help us ensure children have the ability to learn essential water safety skills that can save their life. Sign the petition to help make swim lessons essential in every state!