To prevent drownings, Hawaii parents enrolling infants in swimmi - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

To prevent drownings, Hawaii parents enrolling infants in swimming lessons

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Travis and Tiffany Aborn enrolled their daughter in swimming classes at 6 months old.

That's, right. Six months.

The class is called Infant Swimming Resource, and it's a growing -- and somewhat controversial -- program aimed at helping even the youngest children become comfortable in the water.

“First few weeks, she was a little apprehensive," Travis Aborn said.

"But by the end of it, she was floating however long she wanted to float and she would actually cry when we took her out of the water as opposed to when we brought her in, so it was pretty cool."

There's growing interest in infant swim classes because drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children between the ages of 1 and 4.

“As soon as they can crawl, they can get into situations where they made need these skills, and we hope it never happens, but the statistics show that it does happen,” said Deb Pyrek, an instructor at ISR.

Lydia's mom had extra motivation. When Tiffany Aborn was 2 years old, she fell into a pool and had to be rescued by her dad. She wanted to make sure if the same thing happened to her daughter, she'd be able to keep herself above water.

“It doesn't take away from watching your child, but just to know if anything happens because it's just so easy,” Tiffany said.

“Absolutely, they know,” Pyrek said. “They can tell by the way it feels that they need air and they just turn over on their backs. So there's never a concern about when to get air.”

Then there's Parker Yancy. At 18 months, he can not only float on his back but can swim towards the side of the pool and pull himself out if needed.

“For us personally we are surrounded by water. We have a pool. We all live near the ocean. So for us, having him be safe and having some skills at that young age just gave me that much peace of mind.” Randi Yancy said.

ISR instructors say someone is always right next to the children and they are never in any danger.

A couple years ago, a study came out showing that Hawaii is second only to Alaska in drownings per 100,000 residents.

Between 2006 and 2010, 253 people drowned in the ocean: 31 in swimming pools, 21 in rivers and streams and 10 in bathtubs.

The state says drowning in the ocean is the leading cause of death for visitors. And people who survive near-drownings may have severe lifelong disability, including brain damage.

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