NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, (KNWA/KFTA) — Swim instructors in Northwest Arkansas are sounding the alarm when it comes to swim safety. A new report by QuoteWizard shows Arkansas ranks third highest for child drownings in the U.S.
Emily Foshe has a five-year-old taking swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School in Rogers. She was worried about getting out on the water with her two young girls, but knowing that her child is learning safety skills takes a weight off her shoulders.
“She’s good. She has a blast going in the water, and I feel comfortable letting her go in the water,” said Foshe.
A swim instructor at Goldfish Swim School said that knowing Arkansas ranks high in child drownings hits close to home for her.
“I have three little boy cousins who are all under the age of seven. So, thinking about any of them drowning like that literally tears me apart,” said Swim Instructor, Kyra Feesler.
Anyone between the ages of four months to 13 years old can take swimming lessons at the swim school. There are a few big things they like to teach the little ones.
“We try to teach them how to properly swim with their head down and their hips up. That way their body isn’t sinking. We try to get them into positions to where they can float. We also teach them how to crawl out of the pool,” said Samantha Keenan with the Goldfish Swim School.
It’s not just about how to teach kids to stay safe in the water. It’s also about teaching parents what to do in those situations.
“I think making sure to keep an eye on when your child is out of breath. When they’re getting tired, when they’re throwing their head back and can’t stay afloat— pull them out, give them a breather,” said Keenan.
According to Keenan, the earlier you get kids into the swimming classes, the better.
“The sooner the better. That way, they’re safely able to survive in the water and get in there and float on their backs,” said Keenan.
Another option for young kids is Shrimply the Best Infant Aquatics. Gabi Stewart is the owner. She teaches private lessons for kids six months to six years old— focusing on how children can save themselves in the water. It’s a six week program.
Knowing the drowning rate among children is as high as it is disturbs Stewart.
“It breaks my heart knowing drowning is 100% preventable,” said Stewart.
A benefit to working with Shrimply the Best Infant Aquatics is that it’s a bilingual service. Steward said the need for Spanish speakers is really needed in the Springdale community.
“I had an inquiry earlier today. The mom was asking if I would be able to teach her daughter in Spanish because that’s her primary language. That’s the only language they speak at home,” said Stewart.
Stewart shared some tips for parents who take their kids to local lakes and rivers.
“I recommend wearing a life jacket and staying within arms reach of your children,” said Stewart.
For Stewart, she thinks it’s important to find a good swim instructor who is able to teach your children survival swimming.
“There’s plenty of swimmers that still drown, but they don’t know the survival part. So, they don’t know how to rest, relax, breathe and then continue to swim,” said Stewart.
You can follow Shrimply the Best Infant Aquatics on Facebook and Instagram. Stewart’s business number is on her social media pages.