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Kids as young as 4-months-old can get swim lessons in Indianapolis

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Posted at 8:29 PM, Apr 25, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — Thirty-three children died from drowning in 2017, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Now, one group is trying to make sure the youngest people in our state know how to swim.

Aqua Tots Swim School on the northeast side of Indianapolis will even teach infants.

"Believe it or not, babies are resilient, and they can handle a lot more than we think they can," Lindsay Thayer, Aqua Tots Swim owner, said. "We start them getting really comfortable on their backs... we teach them to be very still and to look up at mom and dad."

The children are being trained to use their muscle memory, so they know what to do if they fall in the water.

"The first thing they're going to do is going to panic. Drowning can happen as little as 20 seconds. It's so fast," Thayer said. "So what we are trying to do here is teach them how to be calm and teach them to know what to do instinctively."

Eighty-eight percent of child drownings occur with at least one adult present, and twenty-three percent happen during a family gathering. More than half the time, the child wasn't supposed to be near a pool in the first place.

"She started when she was five months, and I think I was more nervous than her," Monique Jenkins, a parent, said. "For one, we live in a neighborhood that has a lake. But even getting invited to birthday parties and everything like that, I just knew it was so important for her to get that exposure to water so that if you do turn your back for a second and she falls in, she immediately knows what to do."

Coaches teach children in that scary situation to find air, find the wall and go back from where they came.

If they can't reach the ground, they want children - including infants - to flip over on their back. Knowing this pure skill can mean the difference between life and death.

"Do it. I don't care what age. Do it," Jenkins said. "It's never too soon or too late."

Aqua Tots Swim School teaches 1,000 swim lessons each week. If you're interested in lessons, click here.