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Media Contact: Michelle Tennant, 828-749,3200, michelle@tennant.org

Mindy York, co-owner of Baby Otter Swim School in Ft. Lauderdale, works with children every day. She speaks to water safety and offering children choices: "When we get them into the water and they learn our rules they become different kids and the parents offer us money to take us home and help them. The real reality is you should never need to raise a hand to a child because it only teaches them these techniques in handling life situations and then taking it to their children and it becomes a learned behavior that is passed on. A better solution is to offer choices in the matter at hand and make them pick one and of course either choice works for the parent. Children feel a sense of power and in retrospect we can deal with either choice."

Drowning Prevention: Drowning is an epidemic this country has not yet embraced. "Even as people close their pools until next year, the statistics for drowning in the United States are alarming. The Center for Disease Control estimates nine people die every day due to unintentional drowning. Drowning is the second-leading cause of death for children ages one to 14. In California, Arizona, and Florida drowning is the number one cause of death in children under five. Parents need to learn the layers of protection such as having a fence around the pool, a phone nearby, alarms on the gate, etc. Swimming is one very important layer, but not the only one," Mindy York, co-founder, Baby Otter Swim School.

Gwyneth Paltrow, whose daughter is a Baby Otter Swim School graduate:
"Our friends and family watch flabbergasted as they watch this little two-year-old swimming like a little fish. The best part is I know that if she ever fell into a pool, she would know exactly how to save her life. How can you ever thank someone for teaching your child that skill? It is impossible," expressed Paltrow in a letter to Mindy York and Marlene Bloom founders of and instructors at the Baby Otter Swim School.  Download Paltrow Image.

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