‘It is preventable:’ Jacksonville swim instructor gives parents tips on how to avoid a tragedy

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the number one cause of death for children between one and four years old. During just the last six weeks, Action News Jax has reported on two children in that age range that have died of drownings here in Jacksonville, including a two-and-a-half-year-old found dead in a retention pond on the city’s westside one week ago.

On Friday, Action News Jax had the chance to speak with Arin Williams, the marketing coordinator for Swimming Safari Swim School in Jacksonville, who says teaching children to swim at a young age is one of the best things a parent can do for their child.

“Swim lessons are actually proven to reduce the rate of drowning by 88 percent,” Williams tells Action News Jax. “It is the best gift you could give your kids, teaching them those water safety skills.”

Additionally, Williams says Swimming Safari Swim School teaches children as young as four-months-old how to hold their breath, roll over to their backs to float, and look for a nearby wall. Williams says swimming skills taught at a young age can be truly life-saving while helping fight the broader problem of child drownings.

“It is so heartbreaking, especially because it is preventable,” Williams says. “It’s a preventable death if we take those steps to make our kids safe and our homes safe.”

Furthermore, while formal swimming lessons are a great way to teach children these possibly life-saving skills, Williams says there are steps parents can take at home as well to decrease their children’s risk of drowning. Some of those tips Williams suggests include keeping toys and floaties out of the family pool in order to discourage unattended children from jumping in, dressing your children in bright clothing so that they are easier to spot and save if they do go underwater, and always to make sure someone is watching the pool during use.

More drowning statistics can be found on the CDC website by clicking here.

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