Swimming instructor explains life jacket concerns

Swimming instructor explains life jacket concerns

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - It's a parent's worst nightmare, having their baby drown. Life vests are a great tool, but knowing how to swim is much better.

There is a video of a young girl in a life vest making its round on Facebook. It shows the flap around her neck pushing her head under the water. She wasn't strong enough to flip herself over until an adult rescued her. This video has us asking parents here in the Valley about swimming and water safety when it comes to their children's safety.

"I'm going to let her go and it rolls her right on her face and I've got to grab her," the adult said in the video.

"If you do have to put your child in a life jacket make sure you are in arm's reach because a life jacket does not mean a child is safe," said Huntsville aquatic instructor Joshua Bery.

Swim instructors at Huntsville Aquatic Center said the earlier you get your child to learn how to swim the safer and easier it is for them.

"A 16-month-old child is this big and it's a lot easier for you to maneuver. They get over their fear a lot quicker," Bery explained. The Baby and Me class teaches the kids how to get in and out of the water safely.

"Mermaid in, safety slide," the instructor told the kids.

Sunny Holman, mother of 3-year-old Laura Grace, wants her to enjoy the water this summer instead of being afraid of it.

"I've learned different ways to hold her, to support her that will make me feel good and let her feel safe but also give her the room to learn the skills that we are hoping she will learn," said Holman. "She has amazed me with what she has done so far just in the few days of classes."

A lot of these instructors help the kids feel more comfortable in the water, teaching the parents fun games to play.

"Lower their heads in the water getting their ears wet and then go the other side and sort of make a game out of it," Bery added. "The more fun the kids are having the easier it is to do it. So go back and forth and even get their nose in the water."

These swim lessons will help the babies learn the skill sets they'll need to swim before they can talk.

"So she'd feel comfortable wherever we go," Holman added.

To sign up for swim lessons, click here.

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