Oklahoma Expert Urges Importance Of Children Learning To Swim
TULSA, Oklahoma - Two Green Country toddlers have nearly drowned as more people are using pools. A 2-year-old was seriously injured in Owasso and a 3-year-old pulled from a pool in east Tulsa is doing better.
With more people swimming there are more accidents, but people who train swimmers say the accidents have some common causes.
The Jenks Aquatic Center schedules classes from daybreak to dark every day so as many students as possible can learn to swim.
“I think it's important that every kid gets exposed to the water at an early age,” said Lisa Ruffin with the Jenks Aquatic Center. "I think it's important to understand water safety, and life jacket safety, and how to behave on a boat or at a lake, what to what to do if something happens if they fall in the water or out of a moving boat."
Long before they become competent, able to swim laps, children are learning basic safety skills.
For Mindy Dennison, it was important for her three children.
"Just to know they have the skill to be able to save themselves if something happens in the water, they can at least make it over to the side, they can float in the water until help can come,” Dennison said.
Each class lasts two weeks, but experts say not nearly enough children learn to swim.
“Getting you to understand the water…and how to behave in the water and treat it with respect," Ruffin said.
She said parents need to understand how to spot a child in trouble.
“Most of the time, the victim is already struggling to keep their head up and they're struggling so hard they can't make a sound, and their head is just above water and they're taking it into their mouth, and it's going into their lungs as they breathe and they just silently slip down,” she said.
Dennison said, as her children are learning, she's very cautious anytime they're around the water.
“Even in lifeguarded facilities, you have to have eyes on them. I'm always counting, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, just to make sure they're not in trouble,” she said.