RICHMOND, Va. -- As more pools begin to open up for the summer season, experts are encouraging parents of young children to prioritize swimming lessons.
At Goldfish Swim School of Richmond, instructors bring kids as young as four months old into the pool with their parents to get them used to taking a breath before going under water, getting water in their ears and flipping on their back.
"We had a kid fall in, and the moment they fell in, they knew what to do," said Kaileigh Robertson, Goldfish Swim School manager. "Those small things we see happening during swim lessons, now we know when they go home and have the same issue their child is going to save themself."
If you can’t get your child to swim lessons, Goldfish instructors recommend going in the water with your child to a pool or even to a shallow, calm area of the James River.
"Getting in the water and teaching their kids simple skills like showing them how to tread water and hold their hand and let them have that buoyancy," said Robertson.
Richmond grandmother, Denise Bondy,’s two-year-old granddaughter is in the swim classes at Goldfish, and she said she knows first-hand how important these skills are.
"We had a situation where she was in our pool, and she wanted to be very independent," Bondy explained. "She went down the stairs and then hit the pool bottom, which was too deep for her, and she immediately flipped over and kicked to the edge of the stairs where she could stand. So I’ve seen it first-hand. That was last week, and you can’t explain how wonderful that feels."
Goldfish Swim School instructors said the three biggest safety tips for parents are:
- Never let your child swim alone
- If you aren’t comfortable with their swimming ability, keep a life vest on them at all times
- Avoid blue and green bathing suits because they will cause your kid to blend in with the water, making it more difficult to pay attention.