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August 20, 2014

Important to teach children to swim

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Posted: Friday, June 6, 2014 1:18 am

Editor, The Daily Home:

In reference to the article: “Officials are unsure if drowning could be prevented”

To answer the question bluntly, YES. Barring unforeseen catastrophe (tsunami, flash flood), childhood drowning is 100 percent preventable.

Although swim lessons are often viewed as optional, they are more important than learning to ride a bike, for instance, as death can result from NOT learning it.


Parents can begin in the bathtub with a child as young as 18 months, by teaching Blowing Bubbles. This skill alone can save lives. Parents will say, “but my child did blow bubbles in the tub,” but it has to be practiced as a skill, every day, as soon as the child enters the tub, and then reinforced when the family goes to the pool or lake.

A parent doesn’t have to be a swimmer to teach a childlife saving skills. The American Red Cross has created Learn to Swim programs so simple anyone who follows them will learn. Obviously, ARC wants certified water safety instructors to teach the classes, but when that’s not possible, parents have an obligation to do it.

Even if you decide never to go to the lake again, your child could encounter unexpected water and be in a life or death situation.

Don’t depend on water wings or life vests to protect your child. They create a false confidence that makes the child more vulnerable than ever when not in use and can even cause drowning in certain circumstances. I’m not saying not to use them, but use them as an additional safety measure, on top of swim skills. There are only 5 or 6 skills required to prevent drowning; the child doesn’t have to become an Olympic swimmer.

Get in touch with the local Red Cross office and get started today!


Jane DeCoursey

Former Water Safety Instructor


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