10:12 AM PDT, June 17, 2022
With school out, millions of kids will be flocking to pools, but many of them haven’t had the chance to learn to swim amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s why swim instructors are working to make up for lost time as pools and swimming lessons reopen. And experts say it’s not a moment too soon.
“Children were not allowed to go to the pools, because everyone was in quarantine or staying at home and what not, and skills were lost or not even obtained,” SwimJim CEO Jim Spears said.
The facts are startling. Drowning is the No. 1 cause of death among children ages 1 to 4.
Recent tragedies are highlighting the concern.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is issuing an urgent warning: “In the summer, children often have more access to pools, lakes and other sources of water, all of which pose a drowning risk.”
At SwimJim in New York City, parents recognize the importance of lessons at a young age.
“My goal for Leo was to be comfortable and confident in the water, so I felt the earlier the better to get him in the water and learn all the skills,” mom Jennifer Perotta said.
Karen Cohen is making it her mission to spread the word that all kids need to learn how to swim. Her 6-year-old son Zachary drowned in a backyard pool accident in 2008.
“Parents need to keep their eyes on their kids at all times,” Cohen said.
But the first line of defense: get them in swim classes. It could save their lives.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says a child can safely learn to begin to swim as early as age 1.