HAWAII KAI (KHNL) - Drowning is the leading cause of death for young kids in the islands. But now, young children are learning skills that could save their lives.
It's a parent's nightmare, a child or baby falling into a pool unattended and drowning. On average two young kids die by drowning each year in Hawaii.
But now kids as young as six months old are learning the skills to save themselves.
"At 6 months of age they are developmentally ready to roll over and float, and we can teach them to hold their breath under water open their eyes, rotate and float," said Jens Trumpa, instructor for Infant Swimming Resource.
During an intensive 4-6 week course, that takes place 5 days a week babies and children learn first how to float, then how to swim to safety.
The kids learn the lessons in bathing suits, but eventually they'll also practice the same lessons fully dressed in regular clothes.
"Most accidents of drowning occur when they are fully clothed so if it happens, they will be like 'ok I've done this before, I know what to do',"said Trumpa.
Four year old Jelene Sanidad's is in her fifth week of classes, but its not just her that gets something out of mastering these important skills. Her parents get piece of mind when they head to the pool.
"I've gotten a sense of relief, I know if she falls in she'll be ok, she's confident she can float and she won't panic," said Jelene's mom, Lani.
Like many other children, Jelene's attitude toward the water is changed by this experience.
"Before we started these classes, Jelene had tried traditional swimming lessons and was very scared of the water, terrified actually," added Lani.
But now, a trip to the pool is full of fun.
As this little girl is full of confidence.
"I like floating on my back and swimming," said Jelene.
Each infant swimming resource class is only ten minutes long. And after young children are finished with the 4-6 week course, they periodically return for refresher classes as their physical skills develop.
For more information on the Infant Swimming Resource classes contact 808-737-0703 or click the link on this page.