Swim classes for toddlers are keeping Tennessee kids out of danger

Posted at 9:08 AM, Jun 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-21 10:08:14-04

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — Across Middle Tennessee, the YMCA is leading swim classes for toddlers.

"Instead of forbidding it and saying 'don't go over there' we're introducing it in a fun and safe way," said instructor Lindsey Kerstienes.

Miriam Sielbeck signed up her 17-month-old for the course after seeing how her oldest daughter reacted to the pool.

"I would say with our 6-year-old...we waited a little too long to start swim lessons. She doesn't like to put her face in the water and she's really apprehensive," Sielbeck said.

Things are different with Ryan.

"She has come a long way. She's been really good at climbing out. She doesn't have full strength yet, but she is getting good at it," Sielbeck said.

This month, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission published new data on drowning. It's the number one cause of unintentional deaths in kids one to four years old.

About 4,900 kids were rushed to the hospital last year after an accident in a pool or hot tub.

Kids between one and three-years-old made up 59-percent of the injuries between 2016 and 2018.

More than 1,000 children died in water accidents between 2014 and 2016. Seventy-five percent of the deaths were kids younger than five years old.

Lindsey, the YMCA swim instructor, said to teach children young to ask for permission before stepping into water, including bathtubs.

"Kids learn in repetition and routine. You wake up in the morning and eat breakfast. Every time you see water, you ask permission before you get in," Lindsey said.

Every YMCA teaches the same curriculum. Click here for more on their classes.