NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — As Arkansans head outdoors and to the pool for the holiday weekend, Little Squirts Aquatics reminds people to stay alert and safe around water this Labor Day.
Little Squirts Aquatics teaches survival swimming lessons to children 6 months to 5 years old. One of its instructors, Wendy Harris, knows firsthand how scary drowning can be. Harris’ son had a near drowning experience at a traditional group swim lesson.
“He went underwater so quickly, straight vertical, just below the surface of the water,” Harris said. “Nobody saw a splash and nobody heard a sound.”
Harris and a swim instructor saw it happen and were able to save the child.
“Thankfully we had a positive outcome,” Harris said. “Not every family has that same type of result but it is fear-inducing.”
The near-drowning experience with her son led Harris to Little Squirts Aquatics where she is now a certified Infant Aquatics instructor herself.
“The biggest thing is teaching a child how to roll, how to turn their head, roll to their back and learn how to float,” Harris said.
The owner of Little Squirts Aquatics, Libby McFarland, said drowning is very dangerous, especially for young children.
“It’s the leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 4 after birth defects and introducing water safety at an early age is just imperative,” McFarland said.
Survival swimming lessons focus on teaching kids how to roll over, swim, and float until they can reach the edge of a pool or an adult can get to them.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also recommends staying safe in the water by only swimming in designated areas and never letting anyone swim alone.