'Save their life one day:' Even though it can be 'scary,' here's why parents are enrolling infants in swim lessons

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Babies can take swimming lessons as early as 4 months!

It can be terrifying and 'scary,' but some parents are choosing to enroll their infants in swim lessons, even before they can walk.

"The reason we enrolled Patrick into swim lessons so early is we felt like this was a life lesson and a skill that was imperative," dad Thom Campbell told ABC11.

That's because about one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger, according to the CDC. And for every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency care for non-fatal submersion injuries.

"You hear all the horror stories about pool accidents and things of that nature and we just felt this was a great environment to put him in," Campbell added.

The Goldfish Swim School in Wake Forest is one of the many organizations offering water safety swim classes to babies as young as four months old.

"It takes a lot of trust to be in a pool, or an ocean or lake with another individual, especially when you are young, that's one of our core values is that trust," said Instructor Abigail Paswaters. "We want to build that with them and if the parents are in our position as an instructor, it helps their bond significantly."

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Instructor Abigail Paswaters talks about infant swim lessons



The lessons offered at Goldfish teach not only the babies but the parents, too. Comfort in the water with their little one and child bonding are just a few of the core values that parents will take away from their time in the pool.

"I love working with the babies. I also like being able to teach the parents so that if I'm not there, the parents know exactly what to do," Paswaters added.



The mini-1 class is for babies 4-14 months old and parents swim with their child.


"By the second lesson, he wasn't crying to get in the pool, he's dumping the water in the bathtub over his head and trying to kick his feet in the bathtub so couldn't get any better than that," mom Rebecca Rich said.

The temperature of the pool is kept at 90 degrees, in an effort to keep the babies warm and their body temperatures regulated.

"In utero, in pregnancy, mom's body temperature is around 98 degrees so with that being said, we get it to that point where it makes them the most comfortable, so it's a warm inviting environment," General Manager J.D. Broderick said.

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General Manager at Goldfish Swim School talks about pool temperature



These lessons should never take place of a parent or caregiver being with a child around water but they offer a chance for babies to tap into what is already instinct.

"It only took about six lessons before he could climb out of the pool by himself completely, so to me, that was worth every penny," Rich said.

"As they grow up, they develop more of an understanding of how to interact with the water, instead of just being thrown in when they are older, they already have that pre-existing knowledge," Paswaters added.

"I do think it's a good way of bonding because they have to trust you completely, you are always their number one. Learning a new skill is scary and so when you are in the water with them, you have that special connection," Rich said.

Not to mention, it's fun!

"Bath time is a lot more fun now," Campbell said.

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