Children Not the Swimmers Parents Think: June 24, 2014

With two sons under the age of four, Ashley Carby has her hands full.

“They’re everywhere; all over the place running around. They’re crazy boys,” says Carby.

In the summer months her sons like to burn off energy in the water. A former lifeguard, Ashley is educated on swim safety.

“The boys are very inexperienced swimmers, so there would be a high possibility of drowning if you’re not watching them.”

What may be eye-opening to parents is that even when they think their kids can swim- many can’t swim good enough. A survey by the American Red Cross found that more than half of Americans can’t perform the five life-saving swim skills. Despite the fact that parents report 92% of their kids will be in or around the water this summer.

“A lot of people assume their kids can swim,” says Sally Kreuschner. She is a child advocate with Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

“We promote children getting used to water about 6 months of age. At that point parents can teach their children to turn, flip up over and float,” says Kreuschner.  “We really recommend children getting swim lessons around 4 years old because that’s when they can grasp the concept.”

The five lifesaving skills include: treading water for one minute, jumping into deep water and coming back up, spinning around and finding a way out, getting out of a pool with a ladder and swimming the length of the pool without stopping.

“I’ve already started doing the intro into swimming lessons. Each year they get better and better and stronger,” says Carby.

While proper supervision is always crucial, giving your kids swim skills can be a life-saver.