On day three of Water Safety Week, FOX 17 heads to the Holland Aquatic Center to learn about the benefits of swim lessons, even as young as six months old.
According to the CDC, there are an average of 11 drowning deaths a day in the U.S, and a majority of them are children.
“In the United States, children ages one through four have the highest rate of drowning and that’s something that’s preventable,” Holland Aquatic Center Instructional Program Manager Dan Christian said.
Holland Aquatic Center provides parent-toddler swim lessons, offering fun sing-a-longs and games, but also helpful tools to get youngsters used to the water.
“The foundation to teaching those younger swimmers is just how to comfortably float, how to blow bubbles and breathe in the water," Christian said, “and once that foundation is laid, it makes everything else so much easier.”
And the best part of these lessons? They can be taught starting at bath time.
“If you're giving a bath, practice blowing bubbles just like blowing bubbles in your milk at a restaurant or something like that out of the straw, it’s a great way to teach your child how to breathe in the water,” Christian said.
The class also starts training these toddlers how to properly float if they find themselves in a pool without a flotation device.
“One of the things we teach is to roll on the back and call for help,” Christian explained, “Little ones can sneak away for about ten seconds.”
Simple tasks like jumping in the water and climbing out will also help toddlers get used to how it feels being in the water in the case that they do fall in.
Dan says even with lessons, a Coast Guard-approved life jacket is always the best option for any body of water that your young one can’t stand in. These life jackets help keep a child on their back and head above water, so they can call for help.
“Whether it's a leg cramp or any kind of sudden illness, you'd rather be safe than sorry, and wear that life jacket," Christian said.
Holland Aquatic Center will be hosting a free swim lesson on Thursday, June 23rd at 12:30 p.m.