Iowa (WHO) — Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental deaths of children, so it’s no wonder a lot of parents are already signing them up for summer swim lessons.
Statistics show they help save lives. According to USA Swimming, formal lessons reduce the likelihood of drowning by nearly 90-percent.
Afton Kidman knows the dangers that can come with water.
“We don’t necessarily only want our kids to think water is fun,” Kidman said. “They also need to have an understanding of it and know how to survive in it.”
Kidman’s son, Forrest, was in a drowning accident. He survived but suffered brain damage, and it’s why Kidman decided to learn how to teach survival swimming and became an instructor with Infant Swimming Resource.
“I just didn’t want to be a victim of it and wanted to be able to help other kids,” Kidman said.
She’s taught nearly 50 of them so far, working with babies as young as six months. This summer, she has 30 more children registered for lessons.
“No matter how good of a parent you are, there is a risk,” Kidman said, “and having your child learn how to swim, it’s a great gift to give them.”
She’s not the only one with a busy swimming lesson schedule.
“Across the country, more than a million kids will learn to swim at the Y this summer,” Ruth Comer, with YMCA of Greater Des Moines, said.
Local YMCA locations teach lessons year-round. Comer said they are always looking for more instructors to teach all children.
“Kids who have disabilities or special needs, anyone can learn to swim,” Comer said. “It’s never too late.”
But for some, it might be too expensive. That’s why Des Moines Swimming Federation is partnering with the non-profit Willkie House to provide some lessons for free.
“I think it’s going to get a lot of kids that never would have had a chance to get swim lessons, that chance to get in a pool,” Ethan Johnson, head coach of the Des Moines Swimming Federation, said. “If we save one life, it’s all worth it.”