PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — May is National Drowning Prevention Awareness month. Sadly, every year in Florida more children between one and four-years-old die by drowning than any other cause of death. That’s why Fox 4 has partnered with the YMCA of Southwest Florida to make sure you know the importance of water safety.
An easy way to get started is by remembering the A, B, C’s.
A is for Adult Supervision. Whenever a child is in the pool make sure you have an adult dedicated to watching them closely. Many time when children drown there are several adults around but each adult thought someone else was watching the child. It can happen so fast and often times drowning is a very quiet event.
B is for Barriers. Make sure your pool has a child safety fence around it if you have young kids. There are also alarms that sound whenever a door leading to a pool is opened so you know if your child is near the water.
C is for Classes.
Swimming classes are offered at so many locations across SWFL. There are private instructors that will come to your home, classes at organizations like the YMCA, or even Infant Swimming Resources which are more targeted classes that teach kids as young as six months old how to survive in the water until they’re rescued.
There are YMCA locations across SWFL and many offer swimming lessons for children 6 months old all the way up to adults.
Some of the classes are designed around the parent or guardian getting in the pool with the young child to let them acclimate and explore, but the YMCA also offers Water safety classes where students learn lifesaving skills.
"For the safety classes, It's more of a swim, float, swim. So, if they were to fall in, at least the child will know to keep themselves afloat, before that adult or the parent or guardian can be there to save them,” explains Cody Mooney, Program Director at the Franz Ross Park YMCA in Port Charlotte.
It’s to just children they cater to. Adult classes are just as important for those that can’t swim or for adults that may need a refresher.
"For the adults, 88% of drownings can be prevented with some lessons and it's never too late to learn. So, we live here in Florida, the Sunshine State, and we have so many bodies of water. It’s important to learn,” Mooney says.
Another option offered in SWFL is Infant Swimming Resources, or ISR.
Kids 6-months to 6-years-old learn water survival and swimming techniques.
“We teach children six months to six years of age how to roll onto their backs and get air,” says Master ISR Instructor, Kathy Cole.
The classes are 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week for about 6 weeks.
Some parents may find it tough to watch their kids go underwater and cry during the lesson, but Cole reminds those parents it could save their life.
“It's hard when your kid is struggling and doesn't want to be put in a car seat, but you're not going to not put them in the car seat,” Cole explains, “You're doing it because you're trying to make them safer.”
And water safety isn’t just for people with a pool or people who live near water.
“So many drownings happen when people are on vacation or they're visiting other people,” says Cole.
Mallory Bremby has already put two of her children through the program. She’s expecting her third in August and once they’re ready she’ll enroll them in ISR as well.
As a parent, you don’t want your child to fall in unexpectedly, but accidents happen all the time.
“I know that if it were to happen, they can most likely save themselves. They will eventually pop up and as long as they're making noise and crying, they're okay,” she says.
Her son Tucker is making plenty of noise in the pool during his lessons and she’s just fine with that.