Swimming lessons for children increase amid drowning cases
With the recent rise in drownings across the state and country, parents are becoming more proactive about getting their kids swimming lessons.
Joe Oehme, owner and founder of New Jersey Swim Schools Inc, believes this trend will help keep kids safe.
"We always recommend being proactive versus reactive right so if you're going on a boat you go on the dock you should have your life jacket on for children that aren't experienced, they should be under adult supervision or with the care of someone that can help them along in the water,” says Oehme.
Franki Bondi, of Point Pleasant, has her son enrolled in swim lessons so that he can get acclimated to the water.
"I noticed that he doesn't get as shocked or surprised when we dunk him underwater anymore, which is great and he actually comes up smiling sometimes, so it's good that he doesn't have the fear of the water," says Bondi.
Unfortunately, not all kids are familiar with how to float in the water. A 7-year-old girl in Teaneck died after drowning and a 1-year-old in Paramus ended up in critical condition after being pulled from a pool.
Oehme says learning to float is where it all starts.
"Becoming buoyant and finding your buoyancy in the water will help them to overcome fear," says Oehme. "It makes them relax and you can understand that your body can physically float. Once you can float, after that you can learn techniques to learn propulsion and swimming."
Kids at New Jersey Swim Schools learn to become familiar with being submerged in the water, and then floating on their backs so they can breathe. They also learn how to swim and grab onto a wall instead of a nearby person if they are in a panic. Parents are also told to supervise their kids at all times when they are in the water.
Oehme also advocates for legislation that would require schools to teach a water safety course in gym class.