Teaching Kids, Adults Simple Swimming Safety - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Teaching Kids, Adults Simple Swimming Safety

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It's one of the leading causes of death among young children, and it's preventable.

Approximately 400 children under the age of 4 drown every year in a pool or spa.

But, there is always something so inviting, relaxing and calm about the water. Grandparent Jimmy Quick says look closer because danger often lurks.

"The kids even accidentally fall in there; they need to be able to take care of themselves," Quick said.

It's exactly why Quick's grandchildren are learning to swim, because accidents happen. Six-year-old Gracie andeighth-year-old Taylor have been taking lessons for the last four years.

"You just hit a slick spot on the side of the pool and all of a sudden you just fall in," Quick said. "You just never know what circumstances will come up at any time."

"It does not take that long at all," added Jennifer Laws, swimming and diving instructor. "You might not even notice they're gone until it's too late. You always have to be paying attention."

As a dive shop instructor, Laws says teaching children or adults simple techniques can often save their lives.

"If they can do the doggy paddle at least they can possibly make it to the side," Laws said. "Back float is even better. If they can back float, they can always call for help."

Instructors like Laws say it doesn't take a lot of water for people to be afraid, uncertain or start to panic.

"It's one of those terrifying things; it just takes one breath under water for them to pick up enough water to cause really serious problems," said Randy Wright, owner of The Dive Shop on South Yates Road in Memphis.
 
Both Wright and Laws say pool safety includes learning how to swim, breathing, kicking and taking strokes, but also making sure private pools are always secure.

"Leaving an unguarded pool outside is very dangerous," Laws said. "It's not the best idea. Any little kid crawling can just walk right out to the pool."

It's exactly why Laws says a body of water may encourage someone to dive in, but it needs to happen only if you know how to swim. If you're a child, never swim by yourself.

"I don't even allow them to go fishing unless they're supervised cause anything can happen at a pond," Quick said. "Same difference as a pool. You just never know what's going to happen and you always need supervision."

Experts say swim lessons can take place when a child is simply a few months old. They also say anyone at any age can learn; it may simply take a little extra patience.

Supervision is also a key, since most children who drown are often supposedly being watched by an adult.

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