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Pool safety tips before splashing into summer

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - 6:09pm

We're about to splash right into summer and a lot of families bring their kiddos to the pool or lake for some fun and to beat the heat. But with water, comes risk. That's why parents need to make sure their children know the swimming basics.

According to reports, drowning is the leading cause of accidental deaths for kids under the age of five. So before heading out to the water, make sure your kids have the proper water gear and they know the basics of swimming.

5-year-old Ryland Nichols and his 7-year-old brother Zander have been swimming since they were 5 months old.

"Put your arms in front of you and paddle your legs in back of you and paddle your arms," said 7-year-old Zander Nichols.

They're dad Dustin said he wanted to teach them to swim at a young age, just in case anything happened when they were in the pool.

"It was so hard for us to swim but now we get it," said Zander.

"Right off the bat, teaching them how to be buoyant and how to make themselves float that way they can keep their head above water, from there we went to holding their breathes under water," said Dustin.

Now, the brothers basically live in the water.

"I like to do cannonballs, twists and other stuff and I just like to run and jump in," said Zander and Ryland.

And now, know how to swim like a "grown-up."

"I started out with the floaties, letting them bob in the water, figure out how to start doggy paddling, after that they're so adventurous and dare devily they came right off with the floaties and advanced themselves because they want to be like grown-ups," said Dustin.

But Dustin said he has them in the water four times a week, and they're eager to learn some more "grown-up" swimming moves all the time.

"They just got to, where they try harder and push themselves more and started doing breast strokes and all types of stuff."

Whether you put your kid in a swimming class, or teach them on your own like Dustin, learning how to swim safely should be a top priority.

Tyler YMCA offers classes for kids from ages 2 to 14. They also offer classes for adults. They said it's really important to always have a supervisor before going to a pool or lake and have a life jacket near at all times. In the classes, they teach kids and adults how to be comfortable in the water.

"A couple things we go over is floating, we go over kicking, learning how to breathe, blowing bubbles, submerging, going down picking up objects from the bottom of the pool just really being comfortable in the water," said YMCA swim instructor Lesley Lerma.

Tyler YMCA offers swimming classes Monday - Saturday.

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