According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drownings are the leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 4. An estimated 19 percent of drowning deaths involving children occur in public pools where lifeguards are present. But a new program that's offering survival skills to children as young as two months old -- are trying to change that.
"There you go, show us your toes,” said Lisa Beach as she cheered on her three-year-old daughter.
When Lisa Beach's daughter was a year and a half -- she had a close encounter-- that was enough to scare any parent.
“She fell over and didn't know how to get up and of course my husband was right there to get her, but if we would have had our eyes off of her, she could have drowned with two little kids watching her,” said Beach.
That experience prompted Beach to sign her daughter up for Infant Swim Self Rescue -- it's the first class of its kind to make its way into the Brazos Valley. YouTube has shown numerous cases of babies intentionally falling into pools, only to tactically kick their head above water, roll on their backs, and float up to safety.
“From then to now, she'll automatically roll over and get a breath and then she rolls back over and looks for the side of the pool,” said Beach.
The classes are now being offered at Aerofit in Bryan and for ten minutes a day for six weeks, parents sit on the sidelines watching as their children, many as young as six months old, learn how to float on their back and swim to the side of the pool.
“I think that's the hardest part for parents’ is to watch them flail, but then they turn over and then you see the little nose and then some of them with big smiles and then they turn over and float,” explained Aerofit GM, Kathy Langlotz.
And towards the end of the program Langlotz said the children are instructed to finish out their lessons fully clothed.
“They tell mom and dad bring them fully clothed. We’re going to make sure they know how to do this as if they fell off the boat or the lake,” Langlotz said.
“I like the fact that they are teaching them instinctual things like how to survive and keeping them afloat during those crucial minutes if they fall in the pool, and when you think about it, most accidents happen when the kids aren’t wearing swim gear,” said Beach. “So the fact they’re learning wearing sweatshirts, blue jeans and everyday clothing is very important.”
For moms like Beach -- it's all about turning a potentially dangerous and life threatening situation -- into a positive outcome.
To learn more about how to register for infant rescue classes you can call Shellie Stasny at 979-676-0841 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.