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Local efforts to keep children safe during water activities

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Amarillo, TX - Summer is full of water-themed activities, and drowning is a major concern for parents with small children.

In 2012, 137 children drowned and at least 100 of those victims were younger than five. Pool fences, supervision and pool alarms help keep children safe around water, but some child safety experts say many parents forget the most important defense component - their child. Now children are learning to survive in the water at a younger and younger age.

One local aquatic center, the Amarillo Town Club, puts babies in the water before they even learn how to walk. "A lot of people are not comfortable with the water. And getting them in at an early age is really, really important to get them to be comfortable with water later on in life, and to not be afraid of it more importantly," said swim instructor Steven Smith.

The Amarillo Town Club's class "Water Babies" offers swim lessons for babies as young as six months old. Their goal is to make children feel as comfortable as possible in the water. "We teach them to lay on their back and kick, to lay on their stomach and kick. We teach them to be comfortable with their head going under the water. If they're advanced enough, we have them go dive off the stairs for a couple things," explained Smith.

The "Water Babies" class teaches the very basics of water introduction, but there is a more advanced approach by an organization called the Infant Swimming Resource. Their ISR certified instructors actually teach babies who find themselves in the water alone to roll onto their back so they can float, rest and most importantly breath. Through the ISR swim lessons, babies learn to maintain a floating position until help arrives.

The closest certified instructor to Amarillo who provides ISR swimming lessons is in Lubbock. For more information about the program, visit their website at infantswim.com.

Madison Alewel - NewsChannel 10
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  • Madison Alewel

    Madison Alewel

    Madison joined NewsChannel 10 as a reporter in October 2013. She comes from Las Vegas, Nevada but has strong Midwest roots.
    Madison joined NewsChannel 10 as a reporter in October 2013. She comes from Las Vegas, Nevada but has strong Midwest roots.
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