Prepared for pool, beach vacations? Swimming skills every kid should know

WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - Soon, pools will be opening across Northeast Ohio and families will be preparing for beach vacations.

According to the Nationwide Children's Hospital, an average of 112 Ohioans die every year as a result of drowning.

Nationwide, the Red Cross says drowning is the leading cause of injury death for kids ages 1 to 4.

The Red Cross suggest every kid be enrolled in swim lessons. They say 6 months of age is an appropriate time to start.

Halli Kiwi has three children enrolled in swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School in Warrensville Heights.

"The goal was to gently teach the kids how to be safe in the water and how to take care of themselves," Kiwi said.

Her youngest son, Ezra, is always excited when it's time to head to the pool.

Kiwi learned how to swim as a child. Her mom was adamant on taking lessons. It's a tradition Kiwi continues knowing that drowning can happen without warning and are preventable.

Amalia Lewis-Miller is one of the instructors at Goldfish Swim School. She's a life-long swimmer who's studying sports exercise in college.

"I started working here, and I fell in love," Lewis-Miller said. "It's an amazing program. It teaches those safety skills so that when families do go on vacation... on a boat or a cruise or even people who go to the lake they just want to their children to be safe."

Instructors said children should learn basic skills including getting in and out of the pool. It's explained at Goldfish as the "Fin, Fin, Belly, Flipper." The maneuver involves a swimmer using their elbows, knees and stomach.

The next move is "Jump & Turn Back To Wall." It's designed to teach kids what do do if they happen to fall into a pool.

"A lot of kids think it's easier to swim across the pool- to get to the other side and climb out, but they don't realize they just fell off of a wall and can swim right back," said Lewis-Miller.

The last basic skill Goldfish teaches is the "Sea Otter Float."

It helps kids get their faces out of the water in the event of an emergency or fatigue sets in.

Instructors preach the importance of wearing U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets. They also stress how important it is for adults to provide supervision and not be distracted by items like cell phone and books.

The Red Cross offers other tips to help families have safe fun.

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