Did you know that:
- Drowning is the number one cause of injury-related death for children ages 1 to 4
- Drowning kills nearly 1,000 children every year
- 79% of children in households with annual incomes less than $50,000 have little to no swimming ability
- Formal swimming lessons reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88%
May is National Water Safety Awareness Month. Beach and pool season is just around the corner. This is a good time for all families and caregivers to review essential swim and water safety information.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently published updated recommendations on water safety. In the policy statement, the AAP lays out strategies to protect children at each stage of their life. Notably, the AAP recommends that all children should learn to swim and wear life jackets while near open bodies of water.
“Research has found that swim lessons are beneficial for children starting around age 1 and may lower drowning rates,” said Dr. Linda Quan, FAAP, a co-author of the AAP policy statement.
Sonali Morris, the owner of Goldfish Swim School Cleveland East Side and Goldfish Swim School Fairview Park, says that the earlier kids get into swim lessons, the better. “In our learn-to-swim program, we begin working with kids as young as four months old on critical swim and water safety skills. We continue to teach and reinforce those water safety skills at every level throughout our curriculum.”
With beach and pool season around the corner, the local swim and water safety experts at Goldfish Swim School recommend the following practical water safety tips for parents and caregivers:
- Any time kids are around water, designate a “water guardian” who will avoid cell phones, conversations, magazines and anything else that might distract the adult from watching children every single second. Note that most children who drown are supervised. Adults should practice “touch supervision” for young swimmers and keep them within an arm’s reach at all times.
- Realize that floaties, noodles and plastic inner tubes do NOT protect against drowning. They are created as water toys, not life-saving devices. Life jackets should be designated as U.S. Coast Guard-approved.
- Enroll children in high quality swim lessons where kids will focus on mastering “water competency skills” — a few lessons here and there are not enough.
- Make swimming a family activity! Get lessons for adults who do not know how to swim and practice swim skills together to keep swimming fun and positive.
Know that kids need regular, consistent practice in order to maintain these critical water safety skills — there is no such thing as “drown-proofing” a kid. Water safety should be top of mind year-round for all families.
Goldfish Swim School provides swim instruction to children ages 4 months to 12 years in a family-friendly setting with highly trained instructors, small class sizes (max 4:1 student-teacher ratio), shiver-free 90-degree pools, and using a proven curriculum. Classes are offered in a safe, child-friendly and fun environment using their research-based philosophy called The Science of SwimPlay. Goldfish Swim School has four Cleveland-area locations: Goldfish Swim School Cleveland East Side, Goldfish Swim School Fairview Park, Goldfish Swim School Hudson and Goldfish Swim School North Canton. For more information, visit goldfishswimschool.com.