Thursday, June 19 2014, 08:31 AM EDT
How to Prevent Children from Drowning
Drowning is a sad reality of summertime fun.
"If they are going to fall in, they aren't going to fall in with Mommy and Daddy by their side," said Zachary Byrum, certified life guard and instructor at Aqua Tots.
Pediatric doctors agree.
"It can happen even in a little bucket of water with a baby, it can happen in people's pools, any type of water," said Dr. Erin Reade, pediatrics at Erlanger Children's hospital.
In fact, all it takes is a teaspoon of water, lodged in the windpipe, for someone to drown.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the number one cause of death for kids ages one to four all across the country.
Is six months too early to put children in swim lessons? Byrum says absolutely not.
"It still doesn't all them from being able to possibly crawl or walk into a body of water. Just because they are young doesn't mean they will be able to grasp the concepts. This may be the difference between falling in the water and not coming back up," said Byrum.
Classes with kids this young start with parents but the main goal is to get them to be independent swimmers. At an early age they may not have a lot of coordination so lessons focus on using their own bodies to their best abilities.
"Even if they haven't learned the muscle coordination, they are still learning the muscle memory, what to so in that situation," said Byrum.
The lesson plan consists of floating, breathing, kicking, and even submerging the kids. Even when the kicking involves screaming, parents say it is worth it.
"The earlier they start, they won't have a development of fear. If you start at 2 or 3 they are scared to death of water," said Tracy McDaniel, grandmother of Aqua Tots swim class student.
Lifeguards and instructors want to emphasize you can never guarantee a child will not have a drowning incident. The CDC says taking part in formal swimming lessons reduces the risk of drowning in children ages one to four.