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Learning to swim: The younger the better - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Learning to swim: The younger the better

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Swimming is a life-saving skill says James Island swim team coach Eddie Mason, who teaches kids as young as five.

"It keeps them from being afraid of the water as they get older, and we find that the kids who started at five are usually faster and better swimmers by the time they reach ten, 11, and 12."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of death among children between the ages of one and four.

Byron Rounds, the aquatics manager for the City of Charleston's recreation department say it's also the most preventable.

"A parent taking the time out to place their child in a "Learn-to-Swim" class is probably one of the greatest gifts they can give their children at a young age."

Swim instructors say a common misconception is that a child who is drowning will call out for help, but they say drowning is a tragedy that is quick and quiet.

"The water may be getting into their lungs, and they can't say anything," explains Rounds.

Some parents say children who are used to water will handle a scary situation better.

"If kids are confident in the water, and they can just breathe and calm down, and they know how to swim to the side or they know how to tread water and wait for someone to come and get them, they're in much better shape, and you don't have to worry so much," says Janet Maragioglio, whose children began swimming at a young age.

Registration for swim lessons at the City of Charleston's four pools is Saturday at 9 a.m. Parents can find details like cost and dates on the city's website at www.charleston-sc.gov/recreation.

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