OUR VIEWS: Teach children to swim

Jul 10, 2012


Every year, more than 800 Michigan children drown. Becoming a more confident swimmer through lessons could lead to a much different outcome.

Swim lessons for juveniles may not produce Olympic-level swimmers, but any child who knows the basics of staying afloat long enough to let out a cry for help has improved his or her chances of survival should an emergency occur.

Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for children in our state. With four Great Lakes hugging 3,177 miles of Michigan shorelines, coupled with 64,980 inland lakes and ponds, swimming should be a priority for our children.

Throw in all the rivers and streams, and almost half of Michigan is comprised of water.

And let's not forget all the swimming pools in our neighborhoods.

At a pool party several decades ago, parents and children were all enjoying a backyard picnic when, in a single moment, one adult spotted a child at the bottom of the pool. The boy was quickly rescued, and he recovered quickly after coughing up some water. Even in a crowd of watchful eyes, tragedy can strike.

The outcome could have been very different.

The Grand Haven and Spring Lake community aquatic centers and the Tri-Cities Family YMCA offer private swim lessons for children.

In addition, parents who know how to swim should pass along that knowledge to their children. Having confidence in the water lends some comfort to a watchful eye at a busy beach.

Every child should learn to swim in Michigan. And if your child doesn't know how, it's time you acted on their behalf.

At what age should kids be taught to swim? Vote now at grandhaventribune.com.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Kevin Collier and Liz Stuck. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.



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