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For Your Protection: Swim safety

Swim safety
Posted at 10:27 AM, Jul 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-10 16:34:08-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- All it takes is just a matter of seconds for one of the summer's most popular outdoor activities to lead to tragedy.

According to the Florida Department of Children and Families, last year 81 children died because of drowning. That number this year is already at 34.

That's why Kimberly Foster of Tallahassee enrolled her four-year-old daughter Marin in swim lessons.

"We have so many great natural water resources, we've got our beaches, our ponds and springs and pool and we wanted to make her more comfortable in the water and have us be comfortable with her being in the water, so really it's about being able to enjoy those things safely," Foster said.

Terry Maul with Tallahassee Swim School says it's best to begin introducing your child to the water by the age of two. By the age of three, Maul says it's a good time to begin enrolling your child into swim lessons where they become acclamated with the water and learn the basic skills of swimming.

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"We want them to be safe around the pool if they happen to jump in or fall in a pool with an adult not around we want them to be able to understand how to get back to the sides and get out of the water," Maul said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, formal swimming lessons reduces the risk of drowning among children. Florida Department of Children and Families reports children from non-swimming households are eight times more likely to be at risk of drowning.

In Florida, where there are more than 600 miles of beaches, and sometimes dangerous conditions, Maul cautions that it's important not only for children, but adults as well to know how to swim.

"A lot of adults will think just because they're bigger and stronger they can handle the water, you just need to be sure what your skills are," Maul said.

AVOIDING TRAGEDY

Florida Department of Children and Families offers these tips:

-Supervision: Never leave a child unsupervised. Sit on the side of the pool or in the water within "am arm's length" from the children. Never allow a child to supervise another child near or in water.

-Install fencing and other barriers around your pool and check regularly to make sure they are working properly.

-Make sure your doors have alarms and child-proof locks so that you know if a child has left the house.

-Learn first aid and CPR for children so that you can help in the case of an emergency.