Georgia swim instructors combat child drowning statistics

These stories might feel repetitive, these lessons might feel like skills you have heard a million times, but every year they save lives.
Published: May. 30, 2022 at 5:48 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - It is finally pool and lake weather and swim instructors are reminding parents of some simple skills that could save a little one’s life.

You look away for a couple of seconds and your baby falls in the pool.

Do they know what to do now? Do they know how to respond?

It can be easy to think that if a child were struggling in the water around you, you would be able to hear the struggle and jump into action, but experts say that is rarely the case. Most drownings involving children are completely silent.

”A lot of times, their reaction is to try and take a breath. So their worry in that moment is not necessarily going to be calling out for help,” said Eddie Perez with Aquakids Swim School in Texas.

In fact, statistics show a child can drown in 20 seconds or less. This is why swim schools like Aqua-Tots teach children what to do if they fall in a pool with all their clothes on.

”Immediately roll over, come up for air,” said Malena Hankins with Aqua-Tots Swim School.

Every swim school I spoke to today stressed the importance of getting your kids in swim lessons. The classes cover simple tools, that could help a child save their own life if they fall into a pool or lake and for whatever reason, an adult isn’t around.

”I cringe when spring and summer start coming because I know I am going to hear of a kid dying in the water, in my happy place. It is devastating,” said Hankins.

But adults should be around.

”You have to be present. You can’t be on the phone or reading,” said Hankins.

These stories might feel repetitive, these lessons might feel like skills you have heard a million times, but every year they save lives.

”It is not about my swim school, it is not about making are making a difference in those children’s may have just saved a kid,” said Hankins.

British Swim School in Atlanta also took time during Memorial Day to offer tips to parents. Adding:

1) It’s never too late to learn! Almost 30% of our students are adults. We have adult beginner students from their teens to their 70′s.

2) Parents need to find a swim program that focuses on total water safety. Too many swim schools only teach how to climb out of a pool. But as we know, accidents don’t always happen in a swimming pool that kids can climb out of. Our program teaches water safety first and THEN we progress to swim skills. Our water safety focus teaches kids to float on their back. So even kids too small to actually swim can learn to submerge, roll onto their back, and float. Then they can breathe and have a chance to be rescued.

3) Parents need to start their kids in formal swim lessons as infants or toddlers (we start as young as 3 months old). For some reason, there’s a perception that swim lessons don’t start until kids are 4 or 5 but that is a dangerous myth! While an infant can’t truly “swim”, they can get acclimated to the water, learn to float and potentially save their own life (they still need an adult to rescue them). Then by the time they’re 4 or 5, they can already be a safer swimmer.