EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Now that the warmer weather is here, many parents will pack up the kids and head to their favorite swimming spot. So it’s important to always keep safety in mind.
While close and constant supervision is essential when children are playing in and around water, learning how to become a skilled and confident swimmer is key to preventing drownings.
“He’s doing great he’s learned a lot of life-saving techniques,” Lyndsay Gress, Jack’s mom.
Techniques taught by Zoey Kermidas, the head lifeguard and swim instructor at the JCC of Scranton.
“As long as kids are learning and practicing and trying their best to get into the habit of kicking their feet, using their arms, controlling breathing, and not drinking the water they will get the hang of it,” said Zoey Kermidas, Lifeguard, JCC of Scranton.
Kermidas says swimming is a lifelong skill that should be taught early on to build confidence. Drowning is the number one killer of kids ages 1 to 4, and the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children 19 and under.
“Most people tend to think drowning looks like arms flailing, water splashing, kids screaming for help but that’s not always the case. Kids tend to sink right below water level. Water level is right between mouth and nose which makes them unable to call and ask for help,” Kermidas stated.
In addition to learning how to swim, other top tips for swimming safety include:
- Designate an adult to be responsible for keeping an eye on the kids in the water.
- Check the water’s surroundings, visibility, depth, currents, and uneven surfaces.
- Never swim alone
- Perform CPR, but only if you are trained in the life-saving technique,
Lifeguards recommend having safety devices like this one on hand at pools so if you see someone in distress just toss it to that swimmer. Lead that towards them so they can help themselves.
And always follow the posted rules. Experts say you should avoid floaties or bubbles because they’re not a substitute for approved life jackets and can give children a false sense of security.
Experts say you should avoid floaties or bubbles because they’re not a substitute for approved life jackets and can give children a false sense of security.