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New study shows most children don't have basic swimming safety skills

    Warm weather and a holiday weekend means you'll find a ton of kids swimming at local pools and lakes. But a new report by the Red Cross shows most teens and children cannot perform basic swimming safety skills.

Swimming instructors say these skills are so important because they are what would save your child's life if drowning and even if your children can swim, they still might not pass the test. 

The Lincoln Park pool is full of children, all summer long. But when the Red Cross and YMCA asked, they found out most children aren't as strong of swimmers as their parents think. 

There are a set of standards they must be able to execute, known as basic swimming safety skills. 

\"For kids to be able to jump or step into the pool, fully submerge, return to the surface, float, paddle, turn, find the exit and then safely exit the pool,\" said Jacob Byrne, aquatics director of the Milwaukee YMCA. 

So, we asked some parents at the Lincoln Park pool if their children could pass the test. 

 \"I don't know if my children could do that so I'm constantly watching them while I'm here,\" said Renee Parenteau. 

\"That's a good question, I don't know if they could pass the test,\" said Andrew Stevenson, who was at the pool with his wife and three children. 

 
Byrne says these parents are doing the right thing by keeping a close eye on their kids, but says what scares him is the skills of the parents watching these kids. 


\"Unfortunately a lot of adults also don't know how to swim so it sets up a culture where the child doesn't know how to swim,\" said Byrne. 


Andrew Stevenson says he recognizes both he and his kids would benefit from swim lessons and people like him are exactly why the Milwaukee YMCA is offering low cost swim lessons to anyone above the age of 6 this summer. 


\"Unless you learn the basic safety skills to keep yourself safe and make sure you can exit the water safety, that's when you can get into trouble. And that's the whole purpose of our program; is to reduce the number of people who have no skills around the water,\" said Byrne. 


Aiming to reduce the amount of drowning deaths, here in Milwaukee. 

If you'd like to sign up for the Milwaukee Swims program, classes start at $5 for an individual and $10 for a family. The classes are being offered at five local parks. As an easy way to register, you can either show up to one of those parks or your local YMCA. You can also find out more information here: http://www.ymcamke.org/activities/aquatics

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