Wading the Waters: The Importance of Swim Lessons

A look at the importance of finding the right swim program for your child
Updated: May. 18, 2023 at 3:03 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Swim lessons are critical when it comes to summer safety — the earlier you can get your child in the water - the better.

Teaching skills as simple as floating, treading water, even blowing bubbles under water – can save a life.

Mary Kerr started teaching swim lessons back when she was in college. When her friend couldn’t find lessons for her two young kids, she offered to teach them when they returned in the fall. Sadly, it was too late.

“She drowned that summer,” Mary says. “She was found a few doors down in a neighbor’s pool. It just devastated me.”

Mary recognized that teaching swimming lessons was how she could make a difference and has dedicated over 40 years to sharing survival techniques at Aquatic Adventures.

“Ages one to four are at highest risk of drowning.” Mary says. “So we want to be able to get them in the water and teach them the skills that they can have to save themselves if they find themselves in a situation where nobody’s there with them,”

Jen DeHaven’s son, now 4, had a close call when he was only 18 months old. DeHaven had started him in swim lessons at 6 months of age, so he was able to float to the top and get on his back.

Giving parents access to swim programs like these is why Alice Ann Clark started the British Swm School.

“Swim lessons reduce the risk of drowning by 80%,” says Clark. “Even the exposure to any generic swim lesson helps.”

If you want to enroll your child in a swim program - there are many places to enroll. Below are some links - and always try your local YMCA - they often offer swim lessons for kids.

But above all, be sure to always teach your children about staying safe around water, and to always wait before getting in any body of water.

Swim with Miss Dayna

British Swim School

Aquatic Adventures

Carilion Wellness

Green Ridge Recreation Center