A recent Red Cross survey finds 61% of children, including more than half of all teens, can't perform basic swim safety skills. The survey found that nearly all parents (94%) expect that their children will engage in some sort of water activity this summer. However, nearly two-thirds (61%) of these parents report that their child cannot demonstrate all five basic skills that could save their lives in the water. Of these, 65% are parents of children (ages 4-12) and 51% are parents of teens (ages 13-17).

These critical water safety skills, also known as "water competency," are the ability to, in this order: step or jump into the water over your head; return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute; turn around in a full circle and find an exit; swim 25 yards to the exit; and exit from the water. If in a pool, be able to exit without using the ladder.

The Stop Drowning Now Water Safety Challenge is a great way to allow the community to assess their water competency. The annual event is typically held in the spring as a kick-off to the drowning prevention season, however, it can be held anytime during the year. The event serves as a way to promote the Safer 3 (Safer Water, Safer People, Safer Response) drowning prevention message to the greater community, showcase water competency skills, perform rescue techniques and practice emergency preparedness, involve local water safety groups (hospitals, fire department, and secure media coverage for all of the above.

We encourage any groups who use our event guide to add a fundraising component in support of Stop Drowning Now, a national 501C3 nonprofit foundation.