Photo: Valley of the Sun JCC swim instructor Samantha Brand teaches little Heidi Mildenberger how to swim
With the rising temperatures and large number of backyard pools in the Greater Phoenix area, the Valley of the Sun JCC is urging parents to be vigilant about water safety.
“Pools are an inviting oasis in our hot summers and the best way to enjoy the water, especially for children, is to be water safe and learn to swim,” said Debbie Meek, aquatics director and certified swim instructor at The J. “Infants as young as six months can learn to swim.”
Debbie cautions parents against the use of water wings and floaties. She feels these items can instill a false sense of security in parents that their children are safe, but warns that these items can easily slip off or tip over.
“Despite what we see in the movies, drowning most often occurs with a silent slip under the water, not a lot of splashing and screaming,” says Debbie. “By the time parents notice that a child has gone under, it may be too late.”
A dedicated Masters swimmer herself, Debbie feels swimming is an important life skill that cannot only prevent or save a life from drowning, but it is also an excellent form of exercise that is easy on the body and beats the summer heat.
The J offers private and group swim lessons for all ages and abilities, including infants of at least six months of age.
“Whether you learn to swim here in our fabulous heated pool or elsewhere, the important thing is to learn to swim and make sure your children and loved ones know how to swim and to be safe around water,” says Debbie.
To learn more about swim lessons and programs at The J, visit vosjcc.org/swim.
Seven Tips for Staying Safe Around Water
The Valley of the Sun JCC offers these simple tips for staying safe around water:
- Teach children to swim as early as possible
- Supervise children near water – don’t turn your back, not even for a second
- Secure doors and gates around pools
- Keep tables and chairs away from pool fences
- Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security with gates and floaties – there is no substitute for adult supervision
- Never leave toys or floats in and around pools
- Know CPR