Swim Lessons Fowler July 2015 004 Med Res

When the summer heat rolls through, families often head to the local pools, creeks and rivers. Without proper supervision, the water can become a dangerous place for a child that can’t swim. Structured swimming lessons help reduce the risk of children drowning. This summer, the generosity of the Two Rivers Health and Wellness Foundation made it possible for Lehigh Valley Children’s Centers (LVCC) to provide formal swim instruction for children at two Bethlehem centers.

Twenty-six children, from five to 12 years, participated in six lessons conducted by lifeguards at the Westside Park Pool in Bethlehem. They learned the basics of swimming - floating and how to move through water – as well as poolside safety.

As the lessons progressed, children challenged themselves and their swimming skills grew stronger. Ed Massey, summer school-age teacher for LVCC’s Fowler Center, saw a definite change in his students.

“Many of the children who did not know how to swim were afraid of the water in the beginning of the summer,” Ed explained. “By the end of the lessons, the children became more confident in their swimming abilities.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two children aged 14 or younger die from unintentional drowning every day in the United States. Low-income and minority children face the highest drowning risk. Teaching water safety and swimming skills in LVCC programs gives local children a foundation that can help them safely enjoy the water for years to come.