DETROIT – Summer is approaching, and that means many will hit the pools and Michigan’s beautiful lakes for some fun. But that water can be dangerous, especially to young children.
Without water safety skills, the recreational activity can pose risks to children of all ages. Because May is National Water Safety Month, we sat down with some experts to learn more about why these skills are so important.
At the most basic level, those at Aqua Tots swim schools suggest following the ABC approach when it comes to keeping little ones safe in the water:
- A: Adult supervision.
- B: Providing barriers around water.
- C: Classes.
If children are equipped with classes, most can worry less about A and B. But the cost of classes can sometimes be a deal breaker for families.
A local pool maintenance company is hoping to help out with those costs.
Nora Farhat is the owner of Pool Scouts Detroit, a pool cleaning and maintenance company. She works closely with swim programs like British Swim School, which aims to teach children water survival techniques.
“We really like to tell parents to focus on making sure your kids master water survival, which is the falling, rolling over, swimming to the edge. You can breathe from rolling over -- you can be on your back, you can breathe, you can call for help. It gives time for your parents to recognize that there might be a situation -- that’s water survival,” Farhat said.
Farhat says she recognizes that not everyone has the means to access swim safety lessons. That’s why, for the month of May, for every pool serviced by Pool Scouts nationwide, a $1 donation will be made to the Hope Floats Foundation, which gives families access to swimming lessons by covering the costs.
“Some people say, ‘Well, I don’t have a pool in my house,’ but then they don’t recognize, your neighbor does. And there isn’t a fence, or it’s not gated,” Farhat said. “Or maybe you’re around the lakes all the time, and you think your child is staying in a very safe zone.”
The Pool Scouts Detroit owner says that children can start learning water safety skills as early as 3 months old -- but even if your child is way older than that, it’s never too late.
“If your child is 10 or 11, and you’re not sure if they can handle being, let’s say, on the deep side of the pool, or the shallow side, without panicking or without not knowing what to do: That is exactly the child that’s perfect for swim lessons,” Farhat said.
Here are some helpful links to get your children on the right swimming track:
You can watch the video report below.