Doctors stress drowning prevention, early swim lessons

Published: Jun. 21, 2014 at 3:50 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2014 at 2:41 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Summer officially begins Saturday, which means everyone will be feeling South Carolina's hot, humid days throughout the next couple of months.

Many are probably planning to be poolside in an attempt to beat the heat. And while it's fun, safety is a must, especially for little ones.

The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that parents should start their children in swim lessons at the age of one.

Topspin Racquet and Swim Club in Lexington offers swim lessons for all ages. Owner Chris Wooten said parents at his club that take advantage it.

"The key is just awareness," he said. "You know at one or two years old we've got folks that bring their kids and do swim lessons just private lessons, just to blow bubbles, get used to their face in the water, trying to breathe a little bit and you build on that."

"It's a progressive thing; you just don't want them to panic," said Wooten.

Dr. Elizabeth Mack from Palmetto Children's Hospital said exposure to the water at an early age can make a difference.

"It's not necessarily going to prevent them from drowning but it can't hurt to get them in the water earlier so if they were to get in without your supervision then they will be able to get to the side," said Mack.

Dr. Mack said this is just one of the ways to prevent something she sees too often.

"Drowning is way too common and unfortunately they are usually preventable," she said. "A pool or a lake or creek needs to have a locked gate or some barrier in between the child and the house and the body of water outside."

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