Swimming safety important ahead of spring break

Chicago swim instructors are highlighting the importance of swimming safety ahead of possible spring break and summer trips.

Video Transcript

- This is a warning for parents as we head into spring break. There might be an increased threat of children drowning because many haven't been taking swim lessons during the pandemic, and that's why it's critical for families to go over water safety tips with their children before any spring break plans. Rebecca McGregor with Goldfish Swim School in Chicagoland joins us live this morning to talk all about it. Thank you so much for being here.

REBECCA MCGREGOR: Thank you for having me.

- It's our pleasure. So you know, let's just talk about this. As spring break is approaching, how can parents prepare their kids to be safe around water as they consider what's going on and potentially going somewhere that has a pool or has some water?

REBECCA MCGREGOR: Yeah, so we've developed a bit of a safety checklist for everyone getting ready to finally get out of the house, go on a trip, go on spring break, and a couple of the things on the checklist is, you know, when you're going on vacation, if you're renting a house, you're going to be near water. You're staying in a hotel or a resort that has water, we encourage you, the very first thing you should do when you arrive on vacation is get together with everybody there, all the adults, all the kids, and make a water safety plan.

- Most people don't know that most drownings occur when you don't expect your kids to be in the water, so figure out where the water is around you and make a plan to keep your children away from that water, whether it's keeping doors locked or having an alarm on the door, whatever it takes to keep your kids away from the water, that's what you want to do.

While you're swimming during designated swim time, you want to make sure that you have an adult who's responsible for watching the kids in the water, for making sure that they, that's all they're doing. They don't have a phone. They don't have a book. They're not in conversation with other adults. They're just watching the kids in the water, and it's great to have something like a water safety badge to designate who is in charge at the time so that if that person needs to take a break or leaves the waterside that somebody else is then accountable for the kids in the water.

- Well, let me ask you this, because I'd love to find out, are there things that parents need to be looking for? Like, when they, say they go to a, they rent a home. Are there things they need to be looking for around the pool to make sure that it's safe for their kids?

REBECCA MCGREGOR: Yeah, I would say actually it starts in the house, so a couple of years ago, I went and we rented a house with my brother and sister, and we had nine kids under the age of six with us, and the very first thing we did was made sure all the doors had locks and that the kids couldn't get out to the pool area.

Once you do that, then you want to make sure that the water has some type of safety barrier around it, whether it's a gate that closes all the way and the pool is not connected to the house or that there's life saving devices around, so whether it's flotation devices, different things like that, and then you want to make sure your children know where they can swim in the pool, so make sure they understand where there's shallow water and where there's deep water.

- And if you're thinking about safety precautions for families taking swim lessons to make sure that they can still get those skills but in a safe way, what would those be?

REBECCA MCGREGOR: I mean, just getting enrolled in swim lessons. Most programs are back open now, whether it's the Park District, YMCA, or Goldfish. Get your kids in swim lessons. Not only are they going to learn how to swim, but they'll get a really good idea of their own swim abilities, and they'll learn to have a natural respect for the water.

- Excellent. Well, thank you so much. I really appreciate your time this morning.

REBECCA MCGREGOR: Thanks for having me.

- It's our pleasure. And if you are interested in swimming lessons from Goldfish Swim School, we have information posted for you right at ABC7Chicago.com.

- Such an important skill to have. No doubt.