The key to staying safe in the water

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(ABC 6 News) – Often you hear about driving safety, but it’s not just an accident on the roads that can end in tragedy. According to Stop Drowning Now, every year in the United States, about 3,500 people drown.

Whether you’re swimming with a group of friends, or by yourself, it’s important to keep in mind that a safe day in the water starts at square one.

“Swimming is just like riding a bike,” said Sheila Walsh, the Wellness Director at Shorewood Senior Campus.

Most of us learn to swim at a young age and those skills stick. Then, there are some who might need a refresher.

“We got to wake our brain up to how we did it before so we can do it again,” said Walsh.

It’s no secret that not keeping up with those skills can end in tragedy.

“The time it takes to check a cellphone is the time it takes for a kid to drown,” added Walsh.

Walsh might work at Shorewood Senior Campus but she teaches all ages how to swim.

“Teaching kids is teaching them to put their face in the water, to trust themselves, that feeling of not touching things is really scary.”

You might not think it, but the same goes for seniors.

“As we get older, our balance is a little shakey, the water feels a little insecure cause it’s not as stable as the ground.”

It’s important to get regular checkups at the doctor. The same goes for checking up on those basic swimming skills.

“It doesn’t really necessarily say that ‘when you hit 40, you should take swimming classes again.’ You should take a swimming class again if you feel insecure. Check-in with yourself and gain that confidence back by practicing those initial strokes,” said Walsh.

Also, keep an eye out for the quiet ones in the water. If someone is drowning, pass them a flotation device and get help. If the person is losing energy, you do not want to grab someone that is in panic mode. If they become unresponsive, that’s the time to safely grab them.