Teaching youth to swim in a formal setting from certified instructors is a consistent drowning prevention recommendation. Purposes for this investigation was to examine type of swimming instruction and ability to swim and compare to attitudes toward swimming among US youth.
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We believe that this research is the first to document that learning how to swim from a certified swim instructor leads to an enhanced level of swimming competence. This result supports the consistent recommendations among numerous injury prevention groups to learn how to swim from a certified instructor. Alarmingly, a large proportion of children, regardless of demographics, are learning how to swim from a family member or friend (43.9%), or indicated they had taught themselves (24.2%). These results are counter to what prevention groups are recommending and may be setting the stage for these children to drown.