In the 608: Think water safety this summer

FITCHBURG, Wis. – A local swim school is hoping to remind folks about water safety ahead of Memorial Day and the busy summer season.

We stopped by SwimWest Swim School to get a look at how kids are learning the proper precautions.

One of those is what’s called the “reach or throw” technique. It’s a way for swimmers to help a friend who’s stuck in the water without jumping in and saving them.

Operations manager Kassy Rabenhorst says children are not capable of saving other children in the water, but there are ways for kids to help in a safe way if an adult is not immediately there.

All these simple measures could just save a life.

“Our goal is to try to help reduce all those accidental drowning deaths, which are very common between the ages of one and four,” Rabenhorst explained. “When there is a lifeguard present, there should still be an adult with each and every group watching the children just to make sure that they’re being safe in the water.”

SwimWest offers year-round enrollment, with many free safety events happening as well.

When it comes to floatation devices, Rabenhorst says you should always use a life-jacket no matter what and to make sure it fits. She says often times children don’t have the proper gear, such as water wings. They can give a child a false sense of security.

It’s also important to remember that our area waterways have not had the chance to warm up yet.

“The cold is a big shock for people who fall in. It’s just hard to get moving,” Rabenhorst added. “You get tense because you’re cold. So having that life jacket on, you don’t have to worry about keeping yourself afloat. You can just worry about getting back to shore.”

The CDC reports that teaching kids as young as one how to swim can reduce the risk of drowning by up to 88%.

If you’d like to learn more about water safety, and what SwimWest has to offer, click here.