Experts say one of the best things a parent can do for a child to protect them from drowning is to enroll them in swimming lessons.
Marci Hummell is the instructor for Little Fins Swim School. She says introducing young kids to the water is important. She teaches infants as young as 6 months old and says at that age, they have the natural instinct to roll over and float.
“They learn to hold their breath. One of the most important things a parent can do at home is just put water over their face,” Hummell said. “They eventually learn to just kind of close their lips and catch a breath.”
Hummell says it is also important to remember the Layers of Protection from the National Drowning Prevention Alliance:
Supervision: Constantly watch children who are in or near the water. Don’t be distracted by activities outside the pool area, and handover duties to another responsible adult at the end of your agreed watch period
Emergency Plan Keep a telephone and emergency equipment close by
Barriers: Ensure fences, gates, and alarms are engaged and children cannot return to the area unnoticed when swimming activities are over
Education: Teach children swimming skills and pool safety. Also educate yourself about what to do in an emergency
Alarms: There are alarms, for example, that a child can wear that senses when it gets wet and will set off an alarm
Hummell adds that parents should not rely on water wings. She says they can get a hole in them and can pop off. Instead, use a life jacket.
To learn more about swimming safety, Little Fins, as well as swimming lessons going on in Mishawaka and South Bend, click on the Big Red Bar.