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Parents, experts discuss drowning prevention, the importance of swim lessons at any age

Updated: May. 31, 2021 at 11:09 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - For years Mitali Brahmbhatt wished she knew how to swim.

“I always loved water, but I would sit on the side because I was scared to drown,” Brahmbhatt said.

After having two kids Mitali decided it was time to take swim lessons. Not only to learn the skill, but also to help her 2-year-old and 7-year-old be comfortable in the water.

“Last year, I enrolled my daughter in swim lessons, and she had a major fear. Once she learned I wanted to learn with her so she would get confidence and know mommy could do it too and there is nothing to be scared of,” Brahmbhatt said.

“Sink or Swim” Lead Instructor and Founder Clint Avery says he has been teaching kids and adults around the Lowcountry drowning prevention and survival swimming skills for more than a decade.

Avery says the most common place for drownings are a backyard pool.

“It’s a loaded gun in your backyard. Any pool or body of water is a loaded gun with no safety because it can go off at any time,” Avery said.

He says in almost 80% of drowning deaths both parents are present but not paying attention.

Avery says besides parents and children knowing how to swim, the number one protection is supervision.

“Keep your eyes on that child be the ‘CEO’ of your pool constant eyes on. Watch that child and make sure someone is on duty,” Avery said.

Avery teaches survival and swimming skills to kids as young as eight months old and gives group and individualized lessons to adults of any age.

“This is a commitment. It could take to or three months to learn how to swim, but it took longer to learn how to walk,” Avery said.

“It gives me a piece of mind as a parent at the beach or anywhere that we know our kids know and they will survive once they know how to float and swim, “Brahmbhatt said.

Avery says the approaching summer is an ideal time for children and their parents to learn how to swim. He says before picking a swim school to do plenty of research and look at reviews, talk to other parents and ask questions.

He says that way you can make the best choice for you and family.

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