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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT)- It started out as an average day at the pool for Cori Prier and her young daughter, Hayden. “I thought that she was fine,” said Prier. “We were in water that was about a foot deep.” Prier took her eyes off her daughter for only a few seconds to say hello to a friend. When she turned back around, she saw one of the most frightening sights a parent can imagine. “Hayden was on top of the water, face down, floating, and her legs were shaking.”
Prier managed to save her daughter, but it’s an all too common problem. “Drowning is still one of the major leading causes of death in young children,” said Bethany Dickey, an Aquatic Supervisor at Splash Adventure Water Park.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, ten people die every day from drowning in the United States. USA Swimming estimates that formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by up to 88%. “You don’t want to go under water and think automatically, ‘I’m going to die,'” explains Dickey.
Young children aren’t the only ones that don’t know how to swim. Until recently, I did not either. I took formal lessons for a couple of weeks at a young age, but balked when it came time to jump off the high dive. I turned around and never went back. It cost me tons of memories through the years, making up excuses for missing pool parties, avoiding trips to the beach. It’s something that I can control, however, and on June 18th, I did just that. I participated in the World’s Largest Swim Lesson at Splash Adventure Water Park, a host site for the event. You can check out my experience in the video player.
Prier hasn’t enrolled Hayden in lessons just yet, but will in the next couple of years. “You don’t have to be an Olympic swimmer to know what to properly do in the water,” she said, watching her daughter splash around the pool at LifeTime Fitness. For free information on how to sign your child up for swim lessons (or to do so yourself!), you can visit any area YMCA, or check out their swimming lessons brochure HERE.
Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42