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Leslie's Water Safety Survey Shows Need for Education

In an effort to better understand the communities we serve, Leslie's recently conducted a survey on water and swim safety. The results of our first-ever swim safety survey revealed the American public’s knowledge gaps when it comes to swim safety. Results from the survey of 1,500 U.S.-based adults found that 67% of Americans believe most child drownings occur when children are unsupervised, when in fact 88% of children who drown are under adult supervision.

Key results

  • Forty two percent of Americans don’t know that water wings and life jackets are not equals when it comes to water safety. Water wings are solely floatation devices, not life preservers; children need to wear Coast Guard-approved life jackets to ensure water safety
  • One in four adults are afraid to swim 
  • Only one in five Americans knows that 87% of drownings for children under five happen in home pools or hot tubs
  • Americans underestimate the number of drownings each year — almost half (47%) said there are fewer than 3,500 drownings a year when there are between 3,500 – 4,000 drownings a year, or about ten drownings a day
  • Only fifty seven percent of men and 30% of women are CPR certified and 20% of adults say their certification is likely expired 

“Drowning remains a leading cause of death for young children, and it takes thousands of lives each year,” said Tracy Dick, Leslie’s Vice President of Brand Marketing. “Many of these deaths can be prevented through steps like taking swim lessons; refreshing basic CPR training; ensuring pool fences, locks, and alarms are working properly; and maintaining clear and healthy water. Our survey revealed to us that there are significant gaps when it comes to the average American’s knowledge of water safety, and as we kick off summer, we encourage all pool-owners and parents to refresh their knowledge.”

Partnering with the YMCA

To support bridging some of the knowledge gaps regarding swim safety, Leslie’s is also announcing a three-year partnership with YMCA of the USA, dedicated to water-safety education. Through an annual donation of $100,000 from Leslie’s, the Y will extend their water-safety programming to reach children at the highest risk of drowning and provide them with water-safety skills, education and training. The partnership includes expanding access to swim lessons, lifeguard training and increased water-safety program instruction at local YMCAs. Leslie’s is also finalizing plans to collect donations in their stores through the summer to support the Y’s water-safety programs.

“We are proud to partner with Leslie’s to support drowning-prevention programming and swim lessons for families across the U.S.,” said Lindsay Mondick, Director of Innovative Priorities at YMCA of the USA. “Each year, the Y teaches more than one million children invaluable water-safety and swimming skills, and through this partnership, the Y will be able to extend drowning-prevention resources even further — especially in underserved communities. This will make an impactful, positive difference in the effort to reduce the number of child drowning incidents that occur each year.”

Water Safety Precautions 

Leslie’s recommends taking the following pool safety precautions to prevent accidental drownings:

  1. Never leave children unattended in or near water. Teach children to never be around water without adult supervision and ask permission prior to entering the water.
  2. Take formal swim lessons and be sure you and your family know the basics of swimming.
  3. Install proper barriers, covers and alarms on and around your pool and spa. Ensure there is a four-sided isolation fence with self-closing and self-latching gates around home swimming pools.
  4. Ensure that pool fences, locks and alarms are working properly.
  5. Know how to perform CPR on children and adults. Make life jackets a must around natural bodies of water, even if children know how to swim.
  6. Always supervise children when they are in or near water. Designate a Water Watcher — an adult who agrees to keep their eyes on the water and avoid distractions, including conversations and cellphones.
  7. In an emergency, reach or throw an object to assist the child out of the water, and if needed, call 911 and begin CPR.
  8. Teach children to stay away from drains.
  9. Ensure all pools and spas – both in your backyard and any public pool you visit – have compliant drain covers.

Leslie’s also stresses how important maintaining clear and healthy water is to pool safety because of potential hazards from cloudy and/or unbalanced water — including potential diving dangers, an inability to see someone floating in murky water, and general skin and eye irritation. To help combat such issues, Leslie’s offers free AccuBlue® water testing and a customized treatment plan at all locations.