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Infants and toddlers learn water survival skills

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Statistics show that every day three kids drown in the United States.  Saturday, two year old Tucker Farmer from Kosciusko County became one of those statistics when his parents found him floating face down in a lake.

There are parents and swim instructors coming together to make sure that drowning accidents can be prevented. Babies as young as six months are learning swimming skills at the Kroc Center that may one day save their lives. 

"I mean it freaks me out but I know that its for her best interest and so she can hate me now but she’ll appreciate the skill that I'm trying to teach her later on." explained Cheron Merten, mother of six month old swimmer.

The Center for Disease Control says drowning is the number one preventable cause of death for kids under the age of four.  Those are numbers that make Merten shutter. "Its super scary! You just never know so if we can equip our baby with the skills even at this age, I just think that’s good parenting."

Swim instructor Maya Williams says the most important lesson to teach a child is how to float on their back. "If you know how to back float you can save yourself in any body of water." Williams says getting babies to be confident while they are in the water is key because their natural reaction is to panic.

She says the last thing you want is for your child to fall in to a pool or a lake and struggle for the last moments of their life. "If you give your child a game plan for if they fall in the water, they’ll be set."

And as far as floaties go, the instructor tells parents not to put floaties on their kids on a regular basis because then if they do fall into water, they will automatically rely on the floatation devices rather than on the survival skills of floating on their backs.

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