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Teaching babies to swim

Swim South Florida's high rate of pediatric drownings and near-drownings has been well documented on this blog.

The YMCA of Greater Miami noticed and sent us an update on a new swim-lesson program they're hosting with the purpose of reducing child drownings.

A grant from The Children's Trust is allowing the YMCA to offer the Infant Swimming Resource program at its Downrite Park center and eventually in Homestead.

The program is designed for infants from six months to children up to four. The comprehensive lessons build kids' confidence and teaches them how to swim and how to react in case of a water emergency.

It also teaches parents about their roles in water safety -- an element that Miami-Dade's fire rescue officials applauded.

"It's a wonderful idea, especially if it educates parents about the importance of supervision," Lt. Eddy Ballester said. "Even if kids know how to swim, they should always be supervised by an adult around water."

The Safe Start swimming lessons run from 8 to 10 a.m. and from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Financial assistance is available.

For more information, call 305-357-4000 ext. 145, or visit the YMCA's website and click on Safe Start. To learn more about Infant Swimming Resource, click here


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