Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in children ages 1 to 14.
The Fire Department says keeping a close eye on your child around water is the first line of defense.
“Kids are drawn to water, they just love playing in it and so you just have to make sure that someone is always watching them, the most important part of staying safe in the pool is proper swim lessons. I would recommend that everyone have some proper instruction in swimming,” said Lieutenant Michael Jost.
The YMCA offers swimming programs for all ages from infants to adults.
Instructors first familiarize students with the water to get them comfortable and get them moving.
“We start programs beginning at 6 months old, our parent child programs are six month to three years and a lot of it is water orientation. Once children are mobile we start introducing some swimming skills, and then once they are ready to go on their own we definitely encourage swimming lessons to keep kids comfortable in the water.” Said Aquatic Director at the Fry YMCA, Ellie Leibovitz.
But even if your kid is a natural, swimming in guarded waters ensures their safety.
“It is important to swim in a lifeguarded pool because it is important to respond to someone who is having trouble in the water as soon as possible. People who are drowning or in distress need oxygen as soon as possible,” said Leibovitz.
And drowning doesn’t always look like drowning. While common stereotypes are splashing and waving your hands, the truth is victim are typically quiet – unable to call for help, with their bodies upright and still in the water with no evidence of movement.
Bystanders should remember to stay calm and let the lifeguards do their job, but they can help by calling authorities to the scene.
“I would recommend that everybody show their kids how to dial 911 to get the proper authorities coming in time,” said Jost.
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