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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Aug. 3, 2015 4 years ago

Swimming safety

by: Emily Blackwood News Editor

The Ormond YMCA is there to teach your child how to stay smart around water. 

It only takes one inch of water and 10 seconds for a child to drown. That’s why Sandy Miller signed up her grandson, EJ Priester, swim lessons.

“They have a pool, and they live right by the ocean,” Miller said.

“And he’s a daredevil when it comes to water,” chimed in his older sister, Emma Priester.

“He’ll just do anything,” Miller agreed as EJ Priester splashed around in the pool with Swim Instructor Bailey Pimental. Today, she only had two boys signed up for swimming lessons — usually it’s a full class.

“People don’t have the right knowledge when it comes to pools,” said Michelle Walker, another YMCA swim instructor. “They think it’s fun, but really it’s a dangerous place for kids. Some people start a little too late or start a little too early and don’t continue with the lessons.”

According to Walker, the following lessons are very important among keeping kids safe in the water:

  • learning to not get into the pool without an adult
  • respecting the pool
  • learning how to feel comfortable in the water, like standing next to the wall if they are not a strong swimmer

Parents can start introducing their children to the water as early as 6-months-old, with the YMCA’s parent-child class.

“It gives parents an ability to control their child around the pool,” Walker said. “It depends on the child for how soon they start swimming on their own. It can start anywhere from 15 months to 2 years old.”

During the swim lessons, kids start with learning how to kick, scoop and float, and move on to kicking on their back.

“So if they are in a situation where they couldn’t get to the wall, they’re too tired, they can actually turn on their backs and kick,” Walker said. “So it’s really important to have lessons.”

For Sharon Malek, it’s a family tradition to enroll her grandkids in swimming lessons at the YMCA.

“I feel that it’s very important for them to learn to swim,” Malek said. “I love the water, and so do they.”

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