As temperatures begin to soar, school comes to an end and the workday is over, we all have one thing on our minds: Let’s get in the water! Whether it’s hanging out in the pool, the lake, the ocean or even heading out on a motorboat, we all love cooling off by spending time in and around the water.

The unfortunate fact is that drowning remains the leading cause of accidental death for children between the ages of 1 and 4, and it is the third leading cause of accidental death for those between 5 and 19. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, close to 1,000 children died from drowning in 2017, and nearly 9,000 hospital emergency room visits were due to a water-related injury.

American olympic skier Bode Miller and his family became a part of those statistics last year when their daughter died due to accidental drowning. On June 10, 2018 during their time at a friend’s house, 19 month old Emmy slipped away from a room filled with adults and other children. The next time he was seen was moments later in the deep end of a pool.

Unfortunately, this was not the first time the Miller family had suffered a loss due to drowning. Bode Miller’s first cousin, Jeffrey, had also wandered from the front steps of his home as a child and was found in a large hole filled with rain water.

Nicole Hughes also suffered an unimaginable loss on the same day as the Miller family, when after splitting a brownie with her 3-year-old son, Levi, he managed to quietly leave a room filled with adults and children. Shortly thereafter he was found face down in a pool.

Through her tragedy, the Hughes family was able to raise awareness regarding the importance of survival swim lessons being taught at a young age and were instrumental in the American Academy of Pediatrics recently changing their recommendations regarding the age in which children should start swimming lessons. 

Layers of Protection Needed to Prevent Drowning

Pool fencing, self-locking gates and alarms are not a luxury – they are a necessity for everyone, whether or not there is a child in the home. Spa and hot tub covers with locks, emptied wading pools and emptied bath tubs are also needed to protect the youngest and most vulnerable among us from suffering an untimely death.

The Hughes family decided to turn their tragedy into a positive drowning awareness campaign and have added a layer of protection of their own. They have created a “Water Guardians: Levi’s Legacy” tag and lanyard which reminds everyone who is in charge of supervising those who are in and around the water.

Survival Swim Lessons Save Lives

Another critical layer of protection for youngsters are swim lessons. But not just any kind of swimming lessons. 

Earlier this year, through the dedication and perseverance of families like the Millers and Hughes’s, the AAP updated its swim guidelines to now state that swim lessons are recommended for children starting at or around the age of 1. Research has indicated that starting swim lessons when children are this young may help reduce drowning rates for toddlers and preschoolers.

Survival swim lessons are not like traditional swim lessons, which typically focus on strokes and swim skills. Instead, youngsters are gradually introduced to the water by a trained and certified instructor and are then taught three lifesaving skills: surface, roll back to float position and breath, and then swim to the wall. These important skills teach the child to remain calm as they wait for someone to retrieve them from the water.

The survival swim lessons at Texas Swim Academy are done with the utmost care and concern. Our accomplished swim instructors work with children to create positive associations with the water, and we guide them through the steps necessary to teach toddlers and preschoolers how to roll from their tummies to their backs so that they can float and remain safe until found.

For more information about our Houston survival swim program, we invite you to read more about our program or give us a call at (832) 437-6186.