Aquatics Director Tony Chmielinski is always thinking about the worse case scenario. He spends his days at the Beverly Hills Club preparing children to save their own lives if they get into trouble in the water. He says the number one thing he teaches them is how to float on their backs.
"If you can flip on your back as soon as you're in distress, as soon as you start getting tired, you can save yourself. You can float on your back and rest," said Chmielinski.
Another important lesson is swim right to the wall if you fall or get pushed in a pool.
"It only takes seconds, really, for a child to be in distress," said parent Tinney Newman.
Chmielinski said just being prepared could make all the difference. With all the budget cuts, many local lakes have fewer lifeguards or none at all.
"That's why, if you're at a lake, you should always put you kid in a life jacket," Chmielinski said. "It's murky. You can't see the bottom of the lake."
It's also important to know a person in distress may not appear the way you think they will. It's not like the movies. A drowning victim usually will not wave their arms or shout for help.
So, what do you do if you think someone's in distress?
"First, you want to ... try to reach something out to somebody, and if you can't reach them with let's say a stick, a noodle, a towel, then you're going to throw something to them that... floats," said Chmielinski.
He said swimming out to save them yourselves should be a last resort.
Again, Chmielinski said teach children water safety at an early age, wear life jackets in lakes and remember, children should always be supervised.
"Always in the boats, the life jackets," Newman said. "Always have a parent or a grown up watching them, and ... knowing how to swim is icing on the cake."
To learn more about swim lessons for children at the Manta Ray Swim School click here.
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