As temperatures are warming, Aqua-Tots Swim Schools officials say now is the time to educate Austin-area families about the importance of drowning prevention.
AUSTIN, Texas – May is National Water Safety Month, and as summer approaches, officials say now is the time to educate Austin-area families about the importance of drowning prevention. Drowning is the leading cause of death for children under 4 and the second leading cause of death for children up to 14.
Aqua-Tots Swim Schools offers swim lessons throughout Central Texas. Karin Chobin, chief operating officer of Aqua-Tots, said it’s important for adults with children to follow the ABC’s of water safety. The simple three-step approach shows families how to stay safe and prevent tragedy this summer:
- Adult supervision: It is vital that parents stay within reach of non-swimmers. Additionally, they need to stay focused on the older swimmers and avoid distractions like phones, reading material, and friends.
- Barriers: Backyard pools should have fences enclosed with gates and self-locking locks. Also, families should put away pool toys when they are no longer in use to ensure that small children do not reach over and fall into them. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 69% of children under the age of 5 shouldn’t have been in the pool at the time of a drowning accident.
- Classes: Babies 4 months of age and younger can be enrolled in a consistent swimming program throughout the year until they are confident and confident swimmers. In fact, participation in formal swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent among children ages 1 to 4, according to the National Institutes of Health.
“We start at 4 months of age and highly recommend starting them early so they start learning all the skills they need to not only have a lifelong love of swimming, but also become confident around the water, learn the skills they’re going to have to be able to save themselves in the event of an accidental fall,” Chobin said.
When it comes to summer parties and gatherings, Chobin says hiring water watchers or assigning an adult specifically tasked with overseeing the pool is a top tip.
“At a party, you get distracted and you might not notice. It’s a very common thing that could happen. The other thing is a lot of accidents in Texas too, we’re not in a pool or a lake. It was in a bathroom. So the emphasis on distraction-free supervision — don’t leave the room, put the phone down, and make sure you’re focused when I’m in those bodies of water,” Chobin said.
For those interested in enrolling their kids in swimming lessons, Chobin said that at Aqua-Tots, they try to make the experience inviting. The water is 90 degrees year round and parents are in an air conditioned area where they can watch and see their children’s lessons.
“Our instructors are fun. Our curriculum is amazing. We’ve been doing it since 1991 and it’s a great environment for kids to learn to swim,” Chobin said.
The Aqua-Tots Swim Schools program includes highly sought-after parent and toddler swim lessons (ages 4 to 30 months), independent toddler group swim lessons, convenient schedules, and flexible make-up lessons.
“There is a suggestion for parents to help prevent children from entering pool areas or swimming without their knowledge. It is always a safety routine when swimming, so they need to wear a swimsuit when they go to swim and then they keep those bathing suits on a high shelf where their parents have to get involved to get them in the pool. Like this, you know, maybe you’re doing something — you’re working, you’re on the phone — and the kid says, “Mom , I need help getting my swimsuit.’ It will be a reminder that they want to go swimming,” Chobin said.
Families are encouraged to sign up before classes fill up for the summer at the nearest Aqua-Tots.
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