SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — During a warm summer day you may choose to spend your free time relaxing by the pool.
But before heading there, knowing how to swim is a must.
In 2016, nearly 300 kids in the U.S. drowned in pools or hot tubs.
One way experts say you can prevent a tragedy in the water is to learn how to swim.
“My parents made it really important for us to take swimming lessons, so it’s just a must for us,” Nancy Jensen said.
Jensen enrolled both of her sons in swimming lessons when they were infants. Now at the ages 6 and 10, she says both of them have confidence while in the water.
“For me and my husband it’s just really important that they know water safety and that they’re comfortable in the water so that we can go swimming or anytime we’re at the lake or boating or fishing, that they’re confident and safe,” Jensen said.
Jean Pearson with Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation says the Midco Aquatic Center offers indoor and outdoor lessons for kids of all ages and skill levels.
“One of the best gifts that you can give your kids is to give them the gift of knowing how to swim and the sooner that you can get your kids in the water the better,” Pearson said.
Pearson says the city of Sioux Falls doesn’t allow inflatables, like life jackets, and instead invite parents to get in the water with their child during lessons.
“If we fill the pool full of kids in life jackets we wouldn’t be able to see our non-inflated swimmer and that’s just a risk that we’re not willing to take. But I don’t want to make it sound like inflatables are bad, it’s just they need to be properly fitted and you need to know that there can be risks associated with them,” Pearson said.
An improperly fitting life vest is dangerous according to BoatUS.org. It may slip off the child or prevent them from getting air if tipped over.
And if you think you’re too old for swimming lessons, think again. Pearson says no matter your age it’s never too late to begin.
“We have adults that come to us and say hey you know, I never learned how to swim as a kid, can I learn how to swim? You bet. We’ve got a lot of great instructors who really like to work with adults,” Pearson said.
To sign up for upcoming swimming lessons, click here.