This Long Island school helps babies and toddlers learn to swim

CENTEREACH, Suffolk County (WABC) -- May is international water safety month and the Goldfish Swimming School in Centereach wants know if your children know how to swim?

Drowning can be silent and quick, and it kills nearly 1,000 children every year.

Drowning is the single leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4. Many of these deaths occur when children are not expected to be swimming or when they have unanticipated access to water.

Water safety experts at Goldfish Swim School work on with students every week.

Parents can practice these skills with their kids anytime they are in the water together.

"Getting your child in swim lessons can reduce that rate of drowning by 88 percent," said owner/manager Jake Atchoo. "When a child falls into the water there's a shock factor and they have an additional 15 pounds of water weight on them. There's a proper way to get yourself out of the water and we instill that here in each and every single lesson no matter what age you are."

Goldfish Swim School's mini classes start at 4 months of age and the curriculum creates a strong foundation for water safety.

Mini Class activities include singing group songs, games, activities and getting little ones comfortable and safe in the water.

Babies practice their grasp reflex, move on to holding onto the wall and eventually inching their way down it.

With the help of mom or dad, babies work on their pulling paddle, "Superman" glides, sea otter floats and kicks.

As babies progress through the Mini Program, they will work on crab walking, getting out of the pool safely by climbing up using the "fin, fin, belly, flipper" technique and breath control.
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