SKMT offering swimming lessons
Sunday, 08 July 2012 by Terryn Kelly
With scorching summer temperatures already here, many parents are taking children to pools and lakes to cool off.
Unfortunately, good times in the water can often turn tragic with drowning incidents. Safe Kids Mid-Texas Coalition is funding 20 free-and-reduced lunch kids to attend swimming lessons.
"The purpose of our water safety program is to make everyone more aware of the dangers associated with swimming and playing around water. It is our hope to educate our families on safety around pools and open water," said Scott & White Trauma Injury Prevention Coordinator Susan Burchfield. "We want our kids to have a healthy respect for water and have the skills that will enable them to have fun in the water."
Although SKMT has been involved with water safety for four years, Burchfeild said this is the first year they are able to provide swimming lessons for free.
"We had to raise the funds to make it happen. The monies were provided to our coalition from Safe Kids USA and the Temple City Federation Foundation. This safety education gives the kids the opportunity to build life skills that will increase their safety for a lifetime," she said. "Swimming lessons will not make your child immune to drowning but it is an important skill for both adults and children to know."
Swimming pools are the most common site for a drowning to occur among children between the ages of 1-4. Children can become endangered in only seconds around water. Safe Kids recommends that parents actively supervise and keep their eyes on the kids at all times. Small wading pools can be a hazard to young children; all it takes is 1 inch of water for them to drown.
In 2011, the Scott & White Trauma Center treated nine children for submersion injuries. They ranged in age from 22 months to 13 years. Five were injured in pools. The other four were injured at lakes and rivers.
"We encourage all adults to learn CPR and know how to use rescue equipment," Burchfeild said. "If a child is missing, always check the pool."