YEADON, Pa. (CBS) — Accidental drownings are always a major concern this time of the year during pool season, especially for African American children, with the drowning rate being substantially higher. Eyewitness News spoke with one local swim club trying to cut down on some startling statistics while teaching vital lessons along the way.
Thursday was a hot and steamy summer day, perfect for swimming lessons.READ MORE: Woman Assaulted By Juvenile Suspects On SEPTA Train Tuesday Night
The Nile Swim Club in Yeadon is offering a free swim clinic to combat childhood drowning. It’s the country’s only black-owned and operated private swim club, born out of segregation.
“It was created 60 years ago. Six families got together because they were denied entry to other swim clubs in the area, bought this property and created a swim club that’s open for anyone and everyone to come and swim,” Lisa Ivery said.
This year, the historic club is starting something new, something life-saving for the children — the No Child Will Drown In Our Town initiative.
“They’re learning a life-saving skill and like I always say, swimming should not be a privilege, it should be something that everyone is afforded the opportunity to do,” Ivery said.READ MORE: Police Investigating After ATM Explodes At Kensington Gas Station
Statistics show that in the U.S., there are more than 3,500 drownings every year — about 10 deaths a day. Even more sobering, the drowning rate among African American children ages 5-14 is three times higher than white children.
“African American children are consistently leading in those numbers, in terms of children drowning every year. We wanna change that statistic,” Ivery said.
Keisha Robinson is watching her 5-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter learn to swim, cheering them on poolside.
“My kids love the water. Once they learn these skills, it kind of eases your mind,” she said.
Earnest kids learning vital skills and plenty of confidence along the way.MORE NEWS: 3 Injured, Including Teen, After Gas Explosion Inside South Philadelphia Home
The Nile Swim Club is finishing up its first swim clinic, which was 10 hours of free swim lessons. There will be another open session coming up in August. You can find more info here.