Your Health First: Don’t let the coronavirus stop you from teaching your kids how to swim

Local News

In today’s Your Health First, water safety during the pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that every day, 10 people die from unintentional drowning.

Two of those deaths are kids aged 14 and younger.

We talked to local experts about why it’s important to make sure your kids know how to swim to minimize the risk of them becoming a statistic.

“Accidental drowning is probably one of the most, highest recorded fatality rates among young people. So it’s really important to be safer on the water, especially for kids,” said Bridger Hoffer, aquatics director at Minot YMCA.

Hoffer says some parents are opting out of giving their kids swim lessons because of the coronavirus.

According to the CDC, the coronavirus cannot be spread through swimming pools.

Nevertheless, to help reduce the risk, the YMCA is offering swim classes with half the number of students– five kids instead of 10.

There’s also been an increase in private lessons.

“It’s really easy to forget the importance of swim lessons. Obviously it’s summertime and a lot of people like to go out to the lakes,” said Hoffer.

Dusty Harvey has a 12-year-old son who learned to swim when he was 7.

“It’s a little more peace-of-mind for parents knowing that their kid can swim. So they can go have fun on the lake and go out on the boat and be a kid,” said Harvey.

Speaking of being on a boat, it’s important for everyone to have a life jacket– especially if you don’t know how to swim.

But it isn’t something you should rely on. 

“Kids will drown within feet of their parents. Their parents get distracted and they forget to watch their kids, they think, ‘Oh because they have a life-jacket or floaties,’ they think they’re safe. But kids are just naturally curious. They’re going to want to explore and run around the water. Life jackets are a good line of defense, but they’re not bulletproof,” said Hoffer.

Harvey says even though his son wears a life jacket, he still keeps an eye on him because of his own close call.

“He took the life jacket off because he wanted to try it. He was ready to go and he got a little too far out and went under for a second, but I was right there,” said Harvey.

And if your back is turned, you may not hear them.

“There’s actually a term for it, it’s called ‘silent drowners.’ Someone might not be splashing, making a scene, you have to be visually watching them and making sure you’re aware and they’re not showing signs of struggle,” said Hoffer.

If you notice someone is drowning, unconscious and doesn’t have a pulse, Hoffer says administer CPR.

If they’re not breathing but do have a pulse, perform ventilations– not compressions.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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