HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – “My friends jumped and I jumped with them and I almost…” 10-year-old Gabriela tried to explain the time she almost drowned. “It was deep and I didn’t know how to swim.”
It was just a few years ago she jumped into a river with her friends. The only problem? She didn’t know how to swim. Her mother remembers running into the river to rescue her.
“She started freaking out and I just had to jump,” said Holyoke resident Dailly Martinez. “She almost drowned so I said wait this is not for fun anymore this is serious stuff.”
Right after that, Dailly signed her daughter up for swimming lessons at the Holyoke YMCA. Swimming instructors recommend parents start getting their kids in the water as early as three months.
“We teach them how to float, how to just walk around the water and be comfortable with it so they’re not freaking out because that’s really how they can hurt themselves in the water,” said swim coach Kevin Morton, who also instructs swim lessons at the Holyoke YMCA.
Although not all babies will enjoy the water at first, so here’s how you can start getting them comfortable.
Start by sitting on the ledge of a pool, preferably one that’s shallow. Take your child, making sure they’re wearing their flotation device, and slowly start by dipping their feet in the water, and picking them back up. This allows them to get use to the feel of the water.
One thing parents should never do is submerge your child underwater until they are completely comfortable.
If you’re interested in swimming lessons, the Holyoke YMCA has classes for babies, up to adults. Click Here for information.