NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- 10-year-old Allison Soto cannot swim, but she is learning how to survive.
If Soto ever falls in the water, she can float on her back and call for help. She has even learned a few strokes to try and get to safety.
"I do starfish - when someone sees me, they throw me something. I have to shout out help so they can hear me," Soto said.
The British Swim School in Newark teaches their young students how to stay alive before they teach them how to swim.
"We practice life-saving skills first, floating first. After they know life-saving skills, we practice swim skills," Instructor Alaisha Romero said.
According to the CDC, drownings are the number one killer of children ages 1-4. That is why Niraj Poudel brings his four-year-old daughter to classes every week.
"We take her out to swimming pools. We want to make sure she's safe. It's an important life lesson," Poudel says.
As part of this week's survival lessons, the school is asking students to wear street clothes in the water. The reasoning behind that is that if you fall in the pool with your clothes on, it is five to 10 pounds heavier than usual.
While teachers try to keep the lessons fun and engaging, the ultimate goal is to keep the children breathing until help arrives.
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