Improved water safety could save lives: 5 things to know

Swim school business owners give tips for keeping kids safe this summer


Here’s something parents might not know: Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children aged 1-4 than any other cause except congenital anomalies, or birth defects.

“Drowning doesn’t look like drowning the way it’s portrayed in the movies,” said Lindsey Talaga, owner of the Goldfish Swim School Centennial East location. “Drowning is actually often silent with no frantic waving or yelling.”

The process of drowning can begin in mere seconds. That’s why it’s important to take precautions around pools and other bodies of water where kids swim and play.

Talaga and Wendy Skaalerud, owner of the Big Blue Swim School’s Centennial location, shared some tips to keep families safe as summer break begins.

Drowning a common emergency

Every day, on average, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those, two are children aged 14 or younger.

Among children aged 1-14, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional, injury-related death — behind motor vehicle crashes, the CDC says.

For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency-department care for nonfatal submersion injuries, according to the CDC.

‘Never swim alone’

Never swim alone, Talaga said. Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved lifejacket, especially when swimming in lakes and oceans where water conditions can be uncertain and unpredictable, she added.

“Designate a water guardian who keeps a vigilant eye on the swimmers, and be sure to change guardians every 30 minutes so he/she is alert and refreshed,” Talaga said.

Always keep a watchful eye on children and remember that “lifeguards are not babysitters,” Skaalerud said.

“In a busy pool, lifeguards are watching so many swimmers, they could miss a struggling child. Parents need to always, always be watching a child near or in the water,” Skaalerud added.

Talk through rules

Talaga recommends parents talk to their kids about water safety and establish family rules and expectations.

“Rules like no running, no diving in shallow water and no dunking are important, and you can create additional rules specific to your children and their swim abilities, like no swimming in the deep end, or breaks every hour,” Talaga said.

Parents should instruct children to always jump into the pool — never dive, Skaalerud said.

Learn CPR

Talaga advises parents to get CPR-certified. CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and is a lifesaving technique that’s useful in emergencies, such as a heart attack or near drowning.

“Being prepared — and trained — for an emergency is one of the best water safety tips out there. At least one person in your family should be CPR-certified, with rescue breathing,” Talaga said. “It’s a relatively quick and easy class, and it’s offered by community centers and other local groups. It could save a life.”

About businesses

Big Blue Swim School celebrated the opening of its Centennial pool, a franchise location, on May 17. Goldfish Swim School Centennial East opened in May, and its first day of swim lessons and water safety instruction was May 18. Goldfish Swim School Centennial East is also a franchise location.

Goldfish Swim School Centennial East sits at 6340 S. Parker Road in Aurora, just outside of east Centennial.

Big Blue Swim School Centennial is located at 20153 E. Smoky Hill Road in Centennial.


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