Born to Run, Not to Swim

James McWilliams’ brief history of drowning begins with an intriguing question for public health: “How do we prevent drowning, when humans were likely never meant to swim?”

Swimming doesn’t come naturally to humans; drowning does. It’s is the 5th-leading cause of death from unintentional injury in the US, and the 2nd-leading cause for those ages 1-14—just behind vehicular deaths, according to the CDC.

One reason, McWilliams explained, is that swimming became more common as a recreational pastime—but access to swimming lessons for all groups (not just the wealthy) did not increase accordingly. Some advocate for making swimming lessons available to all children—perhaps through public schools.

Pacific Standard
 

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