CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As school ends for students in North Carolina, kids may be spending more time either in or near the water.


What You Need To Know

  • The CDC says drowning is one of the leading causes of death among kids
  • Hope Floats and Pool Scouts teamed up to donate 1,500 swim lessons
  • The National Institute of Health says swim lessons reduce the risk of drowning by almost 90%


However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say drowning is the leading cause of death for kids under the age of 5.

The National Institute of Health says swim lessons reduce the risk of drowning by almost 90%.

But, swim lessons can be expensive and families who can’t afford them can be at greater risk.

The World Health Organization says lower socioeconomic status is associated with a higher risk of drowning, as families may not have access to lessons.

A Charlotte based nonprofit called Hope Floats, which provides free swimming lessons for kids, teamed up with Pool Scouts to donate 1,500 swim lessons.

Pool Scouts raised $32,648 across all of their locations to do so.

Jeff Horn, who owns Pool Scouts of Lake Norman, says the Hope Floats mission is important to them.

“Drowning is the most preventable thing that we can impact at a pool,” he said.

John Kirk, who is on the board for Hope Floats, also co-founded Little Otter Swim School.

He says swim lessons are vital in preventing drowning.

“It’s also a life skill. Everybody should learn to swim,” he said.

“The drowning rate in the world is really pretty scary,” he continued. "And unfortunately there's also, it doesn't even really count the kids that kind of survive a drowning. But, but have brain damage and things like that.”

The Office of State Fire Marshall says two thirds of deadly drownings happen between May and August. 

Drowning can happen fast.

While you may expect there to be a lot of splashing, screaming and noise, there usually isn’t.

"It's very quiet and somebody just goes under,” said Kirk. "And if you don’t, if you don't see it, it's a tragedy before you know it."

Kirk also says lifeguards aren’t babysitters for your kids.

He says make sure to keep an eye on them while they swim.

"Swim lessons are one thing, securing our pools are another thing, and just vigilant parents,” he said.

If you have a pool and young children, the Office of State Fire Marshall says to make sure pools have four-sided fencing that is at least 4 feet high.