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Losing a child to drowning is a parent's worst nightmare. Water, pool, and home safety are always important issues, though they seem to fall off the radar here in the United States at summer's end.

Pool Safety Begins with Education and Awareness. Every parent knows that there are instinctual aspects to pool safety, but there are some hidden dangers that can mean life or death. In ten minutes, Marlene and Mindy can teach you how to save your child's life.

If your child can walk, they can swim. Contrary to popular belief, parents can achieve peace of mind around water; Baby Otter Swim School teaches tykes to take off in the water as early as 10 months of age.

Drowning is the number one cause of death for children under five in California, Florida, and Arizona. Pools remain open the majority of the year in most southern states, and swimming continues in lakes and beaches as well.

Pools are not the only danger! Many people do not close their pools in the fall or winter. Falling through thin ice on ponds and lakes poses a drowning danger. Bathing a toddler in an adult bath tub even puts a child at risk.

Drowning is not an American phenomenon! Children are lost to drowning all over the world. Though swimming pools may not be seasonal in November in the U.S., Australia is in the height of its swimming season. Parents around the world need to be aware of the risks and know what to do should their child fall into the water.

Swimming is an effective therapy for children with disabilities, especially for autistic children. Baby Otter Swim School provides swimming lessons and therapy to children with medical conditions and disabilities. Mindy and Marlene have found swimming to be an incredibly empowering activity for disabled children. One child who was stricken with West Nile Disease suffered from severe seizures learned to hold his breath through swimming and was able to stay conscious during seizures that formerly caused him to pass out.

It's never too late to learn! Water survival skills are essential, no matter how old one is. Baby Otter Swim School national spokesperson, Major League Baseball star and former National League MVP, Andre Dawson, approached Mindy and Marlene to learn to swim in his 50s. Having suffered a near-drowning experience at 14, Dawson never learned to swim as an adult. Now he helps spread the word about the program and its importance to children and adults.

 

If you would like to speak to Marlene Bloom or Mindy York, or if you have a specific request, please contact Michelle Tennnant at 828-749-3200, michelle@tennant.org.

 

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