Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Parent to Parent: Swim Safety
Spending the day at the pool or the beach is a great way to beat the summer heat. That's why it's so important your child knows how to swim. Here are some life-saving tips in today's Parent to Parent.
WSVN -- The beach, lakes, canals and backyard pools. South Florida is surrounded by water, and that's why every child needs to learn how to swim.
Robert Reddick: "Head back, looking up, push the water."
Just ask Robert Reddick, a 23-year veteran of the Miami-Dade Fire Department and chief lifeguard at Morningside Park in Miami.
Robert Reddick: "It's important for one reason: because we're here in sunny South Florida and the vast amount of waterways we have."
Reddick is teaching kids ages six and up how to swim. For many, this was their first time in the water. The first step, get them past their fear.
Robert Reddick: "It can be as little as pouring water over their head, over their faces. Those things are critical."
Next, teach them how to use a life jacket. Reddick says learning proper body position is critical, from kicking to floating.
Robert Reddick: "Being able to go from front to back, to go from a non-resting stroke to a resting stroke, when they become tired."
And swim lessons teach kids a lot more than just what to do in the water.
Robert Reddick: "Swim in a supervised area, knowing the conditions of the water, knowing the weather conditions and the forecast. They can't be taught that too early."
And it's not just the kids who can learn something from swim lessons.
Robert Reddick: "Absolutely, the parent also needs to take swimming instructions along with the kid to make it so much safer for our kids."
Nine-year-old Ryan Warren's confidence has soared since taking swim lessons.
Ryan Warren: "It's so important that I learn how to swim because if someone pushes me in the water, I know how to swim, and I'll swim to shore."
Saline Telfort: "I'm learning lots of things about swimming, like if when we dive we do like this, and when we jump off the diving board, they showed us how to float back up."
Knowing the rules of the water will make for a happier and safer summer for your family.
Robert Reddick: "Safe swimmers are winners. I like to say that."
Lynn Martinez: "Swim lessons are usually inexpensive and some classes are even free. Call your local YMCA or Red Cross chapter to find out what's being offered in your area."