Portland toddlers and babies learn water safety

Portland toddlers and babies learn water safety


by KGW staff

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Posted on May 23, 2013 at 5:39 PM

Updated Friday, May 24 at 9:33 AM

PORTLAND -- Once the weather warms up, kids and parents might want to consider water safety or survival lessons.

Toddlers and babies took lessons Thursday with their parents standing right by. Drowning is the number-one reason for accidental deaths in kids and nearly 400 drown in the U.S. each year.

"Just a split second that you’re not watching an accident can happen,” said Kelly Rinalli, Mother of two.

When accidents happen, the timing is critical.

"(For) a smaller child going under the water, it usually takes about five seconds of panic before that and you find out if they know what to do or not,” said Tiffany Tomlin with Children of the Sea.

At Children of the Sea water safety classes in Tigard, kids are taught three options.

"One of the things they really stress is: If you fall into the water you turn so always go back to the wall. And they practice that over and over," said Rinalli.

Kids are also reminded to look for an adult to grab, and most importantly, to turn on their back and float.

"We teach them to do a starfish float on their backs leaving their airway open so that they can yell for help," said Tomlin.

At Swimbabes in Milwaukie, the turn and float is the cornerstone of water survival class.

"Surprisingly my favorite age to start is between 12 and 16 weeks old. By the time they're 7 or 8 months old we transition to survival," said director Kelley Robinson.

To pass the program the young students here have to turn and float five minutes in wet clothing.

"If they make it the first five minutes without getting too upset or taking themselves under. We think they can pretty much go past five minutes indefinitely," said Robinson.

At both Swimbabes and Children of the Sea, the water is 90 degrees, which is a comfortable place to practice what could someday save a life.

"It does give me peace of mind that I know that they have the skills to maybe know what to do," said Rinalli.

For more information on Swimbabes go here.