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Lifeguard and swimmers

Source: Christopher Futcher / Getty

Drowning remains a top cause of death for children ages 1 to 14, so now is the time to make sure your kids are ready for a day at the beach or pool.

Swim instructors at Goldfish Swim School in Warrensville Heights said the earlier you enroll kids in any swim program, the better. Their classes start at four months of age.

The American Red Cross reports about 20 percent of drownings each year are children between the ages of 1 and 14.

Tyan Stowers is a desk supervisor at Goldfish Swim School. She said swimming is learned gradually.

“These are life essential skills you want them (kids) to master this,” Stowers said. “We prepare them for having water in the face- just understanding how to breathe.”

Skills every child should know:

  • Elbow, Elbow, Tummy, Knee. Work on getting in and out of the pool safely. You can practice this movement by having your child climb onto a couch or chair from the floor.
  • Jump, Turn, Swim to the Wall. Once they have the movement down, let your child jump off the side of the pool to you, help them physically turn back to the wall and then assist them in getting out of the pool by using the elbow, elbow, tummy, knee method. Eventually, let them go under the water and come to the surface on this own. If a child were to fall into a pool, this skill could help them find the quickest way to safety.
  • Sea Otter Float. Work with your child on turning over and getting his-her face out of the water to take a breath when he/she fatigues.

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