Urbandale swimming school urges parents to prioritize water safety

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URBANDALE, Iowa — As pool season begins, the effort to keep kids safe in the metro is ramping up.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says it saw a rise in childhood drownings last year, partially because the pandemic kept kids away from swimming lessons. One local parent is prioritizing swimming safety after a close call.

The water is Amanda Joynt’s daughter’s favorite place. “She has been a water baby where she always loved the water. She was never afraid of the water and that made me a fearful parent,” said Joynt.

Joynt became fearful several years ago after her daughter jumped into a body of water without warning.

“She was not even 2 years old yet when she just jumped into the pool one time and it just kind of made my heart race a little bit,” Joynt said. “She fortunately swam up to the top, but it just indicated that I needed to make sure she respected the water.”

Drowning is the second leading cause of injury death for children ages 1 to 14 years old, according to the CDC. And a drowning can happen quickly.

“A child can drown in as little as 20 seconds, in as little as two inches of water,” said Alexus Schilling, assistant general manager at Goldfish Swim School in Urbandale. “Parents really need to be aware of what it can look like. Your child would be upright, head tilted back, mouth open. There really wouldn’t be a lot of the flailing of arms and the shouting that you would see in movies.”

To encourage parents to talk about water safety, the school has launched a “Safer Swimmer Pledge.”

“Always follow the rules to wear a life jacket, never to swim alone, to have a water guardian and just to really be safe around the water,” Schilling said.

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