HOUSTON It s a part of summertime fun, but for infants, playing near the pool could be deadly. Infant drowning increase during the summer, but now there s a new way parents are protecting their littlest ones from danger. Infant Survival Aquatics classes teach children as young as six months old how to flip and float on their backs.
Paxton Bates is just 10 months old, but he s already learned how to save his own life. His mother, Bonnie Bates, says that learning to swim was the only way she felt comfortable having her baby around the pool.
We moved into a house with a pool. It was just not an option for us, he just needed to know how to swim, Bates said. He s one of those babies that will learn to swim before he ever walks.
Kathleen McMordie teaches these specialized swim classes to babies and toddlers. She was inspired to become a certified instructor after working as a nurse and seeing the devastating effects of near-drownings.
Teaching your child to float can give them the extra seconds they need to save their life, McMordie explained.
The four-week program shows babies how to hone their motor skills to turn over on their backs with their faces exposed to the air, allowing them to breathe if they ever wind up in the pool. Before the children can pass the class, they have to flip and float with their clothes on, to teach them what to do if they ever fall in the pool fully-clothed.
18-month old Atleigh mastered those skills, in just a couple of lessons, but there s a lesson here for the parents, too. No matter how many swim lessons you have, the parent is the number one line of defense in keeping your babies safe, McMordie said.
For mothers like Bates, it s an extra level of protection and peace of mind.
I cried, to be able to watch them flip over and know that if they fall in they could save their own life, it is such an emotional experience, she said.