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Swimming lessons are a great place to learn water safety

| June 8, 2015

COSHOCTON – A great way for children to learn how to be safe around water is to enroll them in American Red Cross Swim Lessons.

Classes will be held this summer in Warsaw and at Lake Park and Red Cross Volunteer Sher Alloway says it’s not too late to sign your child up. Just call or text her at 740-202-0898.

“Don’t panic,” she said. “We have not had to turn away any children and our goal is to not have to because water safety is so critical in our county with the pools, all the farm ponds and three rivers. We will get you taken care of.”

Safety lessons are incorporated into every level of swim classes.

“Safety is what we start out with,” Alloway said. “We talk about everything from getting in and out of the pool safely to being aware of what’s around you. A lot of kids are go getters and just want to run and jump in, but you have to look before you jump.”

Instructors also show the children where the rules are listed at the pools and they go over them together.

“Another big lesson is learning to recognize lifeguards and that they are there to help,” Alloway said.

Students also learn safe ways to help someone having difficulty in the water.

“First thing we teach them is not to go in after them,” Alloway said. “Instead, lie down on the side of the pool and extend your arm out to them or use a leg.”

Instructors also teach the children not to panic if they find themselves in trouble.

“We start by teaching them how to float on their back so they can do that until someone gets there to help,” Alloway said. “It’s also good if they are comfortable putting their face in the water.”

During lessons the students also get introduced to life jackets.

“We teach them how to put them on, what they are for and what they feel like in water so they know what it will feel like if they fall out of a boat and have one on,” Alloway said.

The lessons even focus a little on sun safety.

“They need to ask mom to keep putting it (sunscreen) on,” Alloway said. “It may say waterproof, but it’s not really.”

She also encourages parents to not scare their children or push them to advance to swimming class levels they aren’t ready for.

“One of the biggest challenges we face is when parents push their children to get to the next level and they aren’t prepared for it,” Alloway said. “Sometimes you get kids into a level where they are in chest deep and then they are scared. The last thing you want is for them to be scared of the water.”

If you have children who are too young for swimming lessons you can still get them used to the water by teaching them to put their face in the water and blow bubbles or practice floating in the bathtub.

To learn more about what children are taught at Red Cross Swim Lessons you can download the Red Cross’ mobile app. Adults also can volunteer to get into the pools and help the instructors. To volunteer your time, call or text Alloway at 740-202-0898.  Lessons will be held at Lake Park July 6–17 and in Warsaw July 20–31.

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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