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As we celebrate our nation’s independence, be sure to practice the layers of protection. When you head to the backyard pool our the beach, don’t let the festivities distract you from your most important responsibility: protecting your child.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission published sobering statistic about drownings on July 4th.
”In 2011, there were 25 drowning incidents involving children younger than 15 reported over the week of the July 4 holiday (June 30 through July 6). In 2010, 24 drowning incidents were reported during that same week. CPSC reports that annually there are about 390 pool or spa-related drownings for children younger than 15. Another 5,200 children of that age go to hospital emergency rooms for near-drowning injuries. An unknown number of children are seriously brain-damaged.”
Remember the layers of protection:
5.Take CPR classes.
We at Baby Otter Andre Dawson Aquatic Center know the importance of drowning prevention and the layers of protection. It is our mission to make sure that every child is safe in and around the pool. The holidays are upon us and the children are in the pool more then ever so please take this seriously.
Our private swimming classes are in full swing. Your child can be equipped with the proper technique to save themselves in just 5 days. We have over 50 years combined experience in the field and have our state and national certification.
Our group Turn Kick Reach classes teach your child how to swim to safety. For more information, contact email@example.com or call 888-SWIM-KID today to schedule the most important activity your child will ever be involved with.
Here are the CPSC’s tips for water safety:
Staying Close, Being Alert and Watching Children in and Around the Pool
Learning and Practicing Water Safety Skills
Having the Appropriate Equipment for Your Pool or Spa
We all know the many benefits of living in Florida: Sunny weather, hundreds of beaches and friendly locals. While the Sunshine State ranks at the top of many great lists, there’s one ranking we must change: A recent report by the Department of Children and Families revealed: Florida is the leading state for drownings under the age of five.
“Too many children have lost their lives in tragic drowning accidents that are fully preventable,” said Secretary David Wilkins. “Parents and caregivers should remember that nothing is more important than keeping your eyes on a child in the water. A child can drown in less than five minutes.”
“The state of Florida loses more children under the age of five to drowning every year than any other state in the nation. Hundreds more experience near-drowning tragedies that can cause permanent health problems and developmental delays…More than two-thirds of these deaths occurred in swimming pools. However, drownings also occur in canals, the ocean, bathtubs, toilets and buckets of water. Young children can drown in less than two inches of water. Many parents have only left their child alone for a few minutes before a drowning.” – Florida Dept. of Health
Before you answer that phone call or make that “quick trip” to the bathroom, do NOT leave your child unattended near water.
Drowning is a silent killer. Each year from 2005 to 2009 an average of 3,880 people — more than 10 a day — died by drowning. An estimated 5,789 people were treated in emergency rooms each year for nonfatal drowning. Drowning is also the #1 leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 5.
These troubling stats raise an important question:
Would you know what to do during a drowning emergency?
1. Know proper and safe way to remove person in the water.
2. If someone is with you have them call 911 or if no one is with you, you call 911.
3. If person is breathing, keep them warm, quiet and comfortable and stay with them until professionals arrive.
4. If person is not breathing, start CPR procedures.
According to a New Report from the CDC, Children under 5 are the most frequent victims of drowning; even those who survive may be left with permanent brain damage. A small child can drown in just inches of water. In most cases, rescue must occur within five minutes to reduce the risk of death.
If you’ve followed our blog, you’re already familiar with many of the physical health benefits of swimming, but this is our first blog post devoted to the mental health benefits of swimming. Did you know that one of the greatest swimmers of all time, Michael Phelps, battles A.D.H.D.? When Phelps was 9-years old, doctors started him on medication for his weekday school classes, but Phelps’ mother credits swimming classes as one of the major keys to his progress.
Here’s an interesting excerpt from ADDitude Magazine’s article: ADHD Parenting Advice from Michael Phelps’ Mom,
“Debbie used various strategies to keep Michael in line. Over time, as his love of swimming grew, she was delighted to see that he was developing self-discipline. ‘For the past 10 years, at least, he’s never missed a practice,’ she says. ‘Even on Christmas, the pool is the first place we go, and he’s happy to be there…. Michael’s busy schedule of practices and meets imposed so much structure on his life that he was able to stay focused without medication.’..
“At swim meets, Debbie helped Michael stay focused by reminding him to consider the consequences of his behavior. She recalls the time when 10-year-old Michael came in second and got so upset that he ripped off his goggles and threw them angrily onto the pool deck…During their drive home, she told him that sportsmanship counted as much as winning. “We came up with a signal I could give him from the stands,” she says. “I’d form a ‘C’ with my hand, which stood for ‘compose yourself.’ Every time I saw him getting frustrated, I’d give him the sign. Once, he gave me the ‘C’ when I got stressed while making dinner. You never know what’s sinking in until the tables are turned!”
In Pyschology Today‘s article: “The Swimming Cure for ADHD?”, Debbie Phelps explained how swimming lessons helped her son develop both physically and mentally.
“Apparently Michael was a very good athlete, talented in a number of sports growing up (no surprise – most athletic superstars have similar multi-sport histories, e.g. Roger Federer and soccer). But he was also quite hyper and not a particularly good student. So, at age nine he was taken to his doctor, given an ADHD diagnosis and started on medication which Debbie only gave him on school days because his weekends and vacations were filled with sports in which he excelled.
By age eleven he had committed himself only to swimming, which Debbie believes was particularly helpful because it was especially structured and highly regimented given his increasingly intense training. Swimming even for a team is also relatively individualistic. From my years of experience treating children with ADHD, I know that they do better with individual oriented sports like swimming or track (even tennis) compared to team sports like baseball (that’s death for an ADHD with all the waiting around in the outfield) or even soccer. At that point he no longer needed medication for school. My guess is that he had matured significantly or was so excelling at sports so as to feel more comfortable even at school. Debbie feels that Michael as an adult still has some aspects of ADHD. She feels his thoughts at times may still jump around some—apparently though not enough for a national media catering to America’s sound byte short attention span to notice.
Michael’s progress vs. A.D.H.D. was also highlighted in a New York Times‘ article, “Phelps’s Mother Recalls Helping Her Son Find Gold-Medal Focus.”
“She will never forget one teacher’s comment: “This woman says to me, ‘Your son will never be able to focus on anything.His grades were B’s and C’s and a few D’s. …
“I was always stern as a parent,” she said, “but from Day 1, I included my children as part of the decision process. So I listened.” After consulting with Dr. Wax, Michael stopped medication.
“In the meantime, Michael the swimmer had appeared. By 10, he was ranked nationally in his age group. Ms. Phelps watched the boy who couldn’t sit still at school sit for four hours at a meet waiting to swim his five minutes’ worth of races.”
When Michael was 11, his swim coach at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, Bob Bowman — still his coach — took the Phelpses aside and talked about Michael’s gift. “Bob says, ‘By 2000, I look for him to be in the Olympic trials,’ ” recalled Ms. Phelps. “ ‘By 2004, he makes the Olympics. By 2008, he’ll set world records. By 2012, the Olympics will be in New York and’ — I said ‘Bob, stop, he’s 11, he’s in middle school….As it turned out, the boy would move four years faster than his coach’s prediction (and New York would lose its Olympic bid).
“More to the point, I think, is the moral of her story, which offers hope for parents of any child with a challenge like A.D.H.D.: Too many adults looked at Ms. Phelps’s boy and saw what he couldn’t do. This week, the world will be tuned to the Beijing Olympics to see what he can do.”
We hope this article has inspired you to consider new ways to help your child find their passion and build on their strengths. If you’re interested in registering your child for swimming lessons, call Baby Otter Swim School at 954-704-0080 or 1-888-SWIM-KID. Be sure to mention you read our blog!
Parents would never think to put their child into a car without a car seat. Why do some parents take their kids around water without giving them swimming lessons. The answer is clear. Parents believe that this horrible tragedy of drowning could never happen to them. Drowning is an epidemic that this country has not yet embraced. It can happen to anyone. Layers of Protection must be on the minds of all parents/caretakers/grandparents. A drowning can happen in a split second without anyone hearing a sound. this is why drowning is called the silent killer. Most drownings happen when an adult is present. The child gets away from the adult by either opening a door that does not have an alarm, or slips into a pool that did not have a pool fence or had one that was left open. A parent could be outside with the child and the phone rings. These are just a few of the layers of protection. Drowning is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 5 and the frustrating factor is that this is so preventable. Please remember that there is no substitution for Supervision. Always watch your children around water.
Hall of Fame hero Andre Dawson is geared up to help make a difference in the drowning prevention arena. His passion came from a horrible experience as a child and finally at age 50 deciding to overcome his fear and learn to swim from an expert in the field from Baby Otter Swim School. Once Andre learned how amazing the water can truly be, he decided to spend time at the school to see how the program is taught to children as young as nine months old. He was totally amazed that a child who can barely walk or talk can learn to swim in just five (5) days. He decided to join forces to help this program go national and help all children learn to be comfortable and safe in the water. His target for inner city children is a passion of his as he revs up his commitment this time with his name as part of the mission. The Baby Otter Andre Dawson Aquatic Center (their new upcoming name) will license their unique 5 day program hopefully reaching the masses both nationally and internationally to change the drowning statistics one child at a time. Drowning is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 5. With some water safety education for parents on the layers of protection and teaching children to swim we know together with Andre the drowning statistics will change. For more information go to our website @ www.babyotterswimschool.com. Please follow us on facebook and twitter@babyotterswim.
How important is it to teach your child a skill that will not only stay with them for the rest of their lives but teach them an essential survival skill? Water is everywhere, especially in South Florida.
A child can learn to swim as soon as they are crawling. It is instinct for them to learn in the water at a young age since they spent their previous nine months in the water. They understand everything and through tender loving care, persistence and repetition they do amazing things in the water. As parents we never want our children to cry, but sometimes crying can be a good thing in the world of aquatics especially since they stop crying once they learn how much fun they are actually having in the water. In our 35 years experience we find the kids at the end of the week cry because they don’t want to get out of the water. Amazing is the only word we can use to describe this transition.
Even though SWIMMING should be on the minds of parents all year round it just isn’t. Most people think that drowning is seasonal but reality is kids have no idea that because it is cold I shouldn’t get near the water. As we move through January and approach spring time parents start to think about swimming lessons and camp. Having your child learn to swim and keeping that skill sharp all year round is one of the most important layers of protection in drowning prevention. Statistics have shown that children that learn at a young age and have access to practicing what they were taught decreases their chance of a drowning. If you have a pool you should have all the layers of protection
in place. Do you have an alarm on the door in case your child gets outside? Do you have a fence around the pool that is locked at all times? Do you and any caretaker know CPR? These are all important issues to prevent these senseless drownings. It only takes an inch of water for a child to drown. Please be sure that all planters or buckets are empty. If you child is missing first place to look is the pool. Be pro-active and help us help you save these children from drowning.
” Accidental drowning is one of the leading causes of death in young children. Swimming lessons may seem like the best way to prevent drowning. But, organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends “layers of protection,” meaning that parents must think beyond swimming skills to other ways they can promote water safety.The AAP emphasizes the importance of teaching children how to swim. There has been controversy though, as to what age lessons should start., But, new evidence has led the AAP to adopt the viewpoint that children aged 1-4 may be less likely to drown if they have taken swimming lessons. Ultimately, it is up to the parents to decide whether their young children are emotionally and physically ready to begin formal classes with a swim instructor.” Visit our website at www.babyotterswimschool.com for more information.
Enroll your child today-our programs is state and nationally recognized as one of the most comprehensive programs for young children. If your child can crawl they can get to a pool.
For the past three months twice a week we have worked with children ages 3 to 7 perfecting their strokes, their breathing, their endurance and most important their team spirit. They have developed in so many areas and far exceeded even their own expectations. Our swim meet was absolutely amazing with over 100 visitors cheering their little Olympians while they move through the water trying to beat their team mate.
Being part of a swim team at a young age improves these children’s ability in the water and give them the sense of “I can do it” more than anyone could possibly imagine. We have created some spectacular swimmers who we know will continue to succeed in swimming. Our next swim team practice will begin in February and we are so excited to see our old and some new swimmers back.
There are so many benefits to children participating on a swim team. Their ability to use all their muscles in a safe environment is tremendous. They learn proper swim strokes that will be used throughout their lives. The exercise that prevents childhood obesity is better then any other type of exercise as they use every part of their body and develop incredible muscle tone.
There are so many social and health benefits to being on a swim team. The children develop lasting friendships and team spirit. All of our kids have become so close and when they are together they cheer for each other during their meets and respect each other out of the water.
For more information about our kids swim Teams in Plantation, Florida, visit babyotterswimschool.com. To keep up with the latest news and pics from our school, you can follow us on the Baby Otter Swim School Facebook page and the Baby Otter Swim School Twitter Account.
Usually in this country Labor Day represents the closing of pools and the end of swimming season. This is clearly NOT true. Drownings are NOT seasonal. Parents need to be vigilant when there is water around. Arm floats, life jackets (in a pool) do not represent a child’s ability to be able to save themselves in an emergency. Swimming instructions for children not a one time fix. There are many levels of education in the water just like there are many grade levels in school. Watch your children over the Holiday weekend.
Have a safe and wonderful Labor Day .
Enrolling your child in a proper swim team is not only an exciting sport it is one of the safest sports. Also, just about anyone can do it, and it’s affordable. A swim team is social. It is very easy to make friends with kids you train with just about every day! A bonus is the fitness. Whether your child plays soccer in the spring, basketball in the winter, or gymnastics all year long, swimming 45 minutes a day 2 days a week improves their overall fitness level. There is NO cardio like swimming. They achieve unbelievable levels of self esteem regardless of what skill level your child starts, it is just about guaranteed they will improve as the team goes along.
If your child has a love of the water and enjoys swimming, they will benefit from joining our swim team. We coach every child to be the best they can be and always encourage them to strive for just one more lap. We are loving but at the same time teach them to stay focused and realize their own potential. Some of the kids who started with our team would not even jump into the deeper part of their own pool and by the end of the three month team they were doing 8-10 laps using perfect strokes and most important so proud of their accomplishments.
At the end of the training and practice we have a swim meet for these 4, 5 and 6 year old future olympians. To watch the faces of their parents is priceless because they sent us kids who could hardly make it across a pool and now they see them competing against their friends performing perfect strokes and gliding through the water. It is a rewarding experience for everyone especially our coaches who put in so much time patience and love. We show these kids that with some persistance and hard work they can do anything and at the end at their meet they truly believe what we instilled in them.
A group called the “100 Black Men of Jackson“(100blackmenjackson.org) launched a nation-wide effort to save lives and to stop child drownings. Based in Jackson, Mississippi, the group will teach swimming lessons for infants, toddlers and children of all ages, just like the life saving lessons we teach every day at Baby Otter Swim School.
Their noble campaign comes after a USA Swimming and University of Memphis study that featured particularly disheartening statistics like seven of 10 African American children cannot adequately swim. The latest report from the Centers for Disease Control revealed more troubling facts about African Americans and drowning risks:
To reverse the devastating trend, the group is focusing on making a national difference: one child at a time.
Below, you can read an excerpt from an article titled “Think Globally, Act Locally“, by USA Swimming.
“The group has set out on a mission to lower drowning rates, raise awareness, and get kids to learn water safety through swimming lessons. They want to teach 125 kids how to swim.”
“Every year at least 20 children have near drowning accidents. Then there are the five to seven youths (each year) that have fatal incidents in the pool,” says the director of the 100 Black Men of Jackson, Iday Oredein.
“Groups like these – local, diverse, pro-swimming groups – are tackling the complicated issues head-on. They do so by offering swimming lessons to those who want them, in areas where parents might be afraid to send their own children into the pool.
In north Jackson, in this excellent article written by Elizabeth Crisp, a parent was interviewed about her 13-year-old son’s swimming lesson. And what she says illustrates and magnifies a problem also identified in the University of Memphis study: some parents are afraid of the water.
“I was afraid that he would drown [in swimming lessons],” a parent said. “It was more my phobia than his.”
It’s a cyclical problem. Parents did not learn to swim. Thus, their own kids don’t learn to swim. And their kids don’t learn to swim. And if the problem is never tackled, there is a fear that it will persist long into the future.”
For more information about drowning prevention, see our section on swim safety tips and visit our main site: babyotterswimschool.com, to enroll your child in a class. Our national spokesman, Andre Dawson, is an African American male who didn’t learn how to swim until he was 50 years old and several years removed from his pro baseball career. Today, he is helping Baby Otter Swim School touch the lives of swimmers across the nation, of every age and every race.
A child should know the basics of water survival at the time they begin to crawl. Once they master that skill and know how to get out of a pool or a lake if they should fall in they then need to continue and learn more advanced swimming techniques. The technique in this video is usually taught to children ages 5 and older due to the development of their neck muscles and understanding of turning their head to breath and using their arms at the same time. Children are amazing when taught at a young age.
Every child who lives around water especially in Florida, Arizona the two leading states in drowning should be as comfortable in the water as this 2 year old learning Rhythmic Breathing. For more information on water safety, all levels of swim instruction please contact Baby Otter Swim School and follow us on face book at www.facebook.com/babyotterswimschool. You can also follow us on Twitter, at twitter.com/babyotterswim.
July 4th is a great time to celebrate our nation’s independence, but it’s also one of the deadliest holidays for drownings. As millions of families head to the backyard for BBQ with friends and family, the fast pace, the fireworks and the festive atmosphere can distract parents from their most important duty: supervising their child. It’s easy to remember basic fire safety on the fourth, but don’t forget the importance of water safety.
Parents must communicate and establish when they will be watching each child. Dads need to remember that a few minutes at the BBQ may seem like a short time, but drownings occur in seconds, and if he’s focused on grilling the meat, he might not notice a tragedy about to unfold in the pool Remember, drownings occur in all types of pools, from traditional concrete underground pools to the plastic kiddie pools that are often sold at large retail stores. While a plastic or inflatable pool might seem like a safe alternative, remember, a child can drown at any depth, even as shallow as the 18″ hard plastic pools.
A recent article in the Poughkeepsie Journal titled, “”Portable pools pose hazard for toddlers“, revealed some startling statistics. According to the article:
“About two dozen children each year drown in portable pools, according to a study published Monday in Pediatrics. Nearly all are under 5.”
Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. told the Poughkeepsie Journal that the portable pools aren’t typically required to meet any local safety standards. Meri-K Appy, president of Safe Kids USA told the Journal that plastic pools pose a unique risk and Appy said:
“When supervising kids in the water, Appy said, caregivers need to give children their full attention.”
At Baby Otter Swim School, our mission is to prevent as many drownings as possible through our programs, including our infant swimming classes and our swimming lessons for children. For more information about our programs, visit babyotterswimchool.com or to enroll your child in a course, call 888-SWIM-KID. We also offer lessons for adults and swimmers of any age.
This is a video of a two year old doing what we call in aquatics Rhythmic Breathing. This is one of the most advanced swimming techniques. This child started swimming lessons at 8 months old and has continued lessons. His parents noticed his love for the water and how easily he took to learning. His first level was the Turn, Kick Reach unique five day program and then from there he went to the Baby Otter Swim Schools second level and now the third being rhythmic breathing. His fascination for learning new strokes was astonishing to all of the instructors. He now enjoys swimming with our five year old swim team. Understand that our children are only limited by our fears not theirs. They can do most anything when taught properly. We tell them at our school, you can do anything you want to do. They believe in themselves as much as we believe in them. With the proper training, love and patience a child of any age can learn some amazing skills, just ask Michael Phelps. Swimming is not only an amazing competitive sport but a great activity to overcome the nation’s issue with childhood obesity. Get your children away from the computers and in the water. They won’t even realize they are exercising.
To enroll your child at Baby Otter Swim School near Fort Lauderdale Florida., call (954) 704-0080 or 1-888-swim-kid.
Summer is the time of year when many families travel for their annual vacation. If you’ve followed our blog, you’re already familiar with the layers of protection we suggest for every parent, including motion activated alarms and fences with locks above the reach of your child. Unfortunately, these layers of protection aren’t always available when you’re staying in a vacation home or hotel.
Since you can’t install alarms or heighten the locks on a hotel pool, supervision and communication are two of the most important keys to protect your child from drowning at a hotel pool. Remember, vacations often involve lots of daily events and activity, which means you’re more likely to get distracted at different points throughout the day. Each parent must take responsibility for supervision. Don’t assume your spouse or other children will be watching your child. Confirm which parent will be responsible for watching the child throughout the day. Plan your schedule each morning together as a family so you can establish buddy systems.
Remember, whether or not a lifeguard is on duty at the beach or at your hotel, they can’t watch your child every moment, and drownings can be quick and quiet.
Here are some important facts from a study by the National Safe Kids Campaign, the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Safety Council,Orange County California Fire Authority, Drowning Prevention Foundation, the National Safe Kids Campaign and the CDC.
While the NFL is in lockout, Leonard Pope of the Kansas City Chiefs is making headlines for his heroic effort off the football field. Last Saturday, Pope saved a six-year old from drowning during a pool party in his hometown, Americus, Georgia. Pope told the Kansas City Star that he reacted on instinct rather than waiting for anyone else.
“I heard that cry. Yelling like, ‘He’s drowning, like, someone get him. When you hear that in a woman’s voice and she’s screaming for her child’s life, I didn’t think twice about it. That’s a kid.”- Leonard Pope
According to the report, Pope saw the outstretched fingers of six year old Bryson Moore, who was submerged in about six feet of water, gasping for air and gagging. Without hesitating, Pope jumped into the pool, grabbed Moore and carried him out of the water. Pope told the Kansas City Star:
“Recollecting on Saturday’s ordeal, Pope said he and his brother learned to swim when he was growing up in western Georgia. His mother made certain they were comfortable around water, and in time, Pope said, he earned a card from a local organization for learning to swim. Bryson’s mother, Anne Moore told the Times-Recorder newspaper in Americus this week that she planned to enroll her son in swimming lessons after the shock of Saturday dissolved.”-Kansas City Star
While Bryson’s story had a happy ending, there are thousands of stories that end tragically each year. Sadly, drowning is the number one cause of death for children under five in Florida, Arizona, and California with a ranking of number two for the nation. At Baby Otter Swim School near Fort Lauderdale, our state certified swimming instructors are devoted to each student’s progress.
After lifeguarding the first two days for a camp who comes to our pool, it was astonishing to see that two three year olds needed to be rescued in less than 20 minutes. What are parents thinking by not making swim lessons a TOP priority? As soon as a child can crawl they need to learn to swim from a professional with experience in teaching children how to swim. How do you send a child to a camp when you know they will be going swimming and not make sure that they know how to swim. Drowning is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 5. Parents need to learn and understand all of the layers of protection to be sure that their child is protected. Swimming lessons are a very important part of drowning prevention. Another important component of drowning prevention is knowing CPR. Make sure you know CPR and any care takers who are watching your children should be trained as well. Please take this serious and make sure you take all precautions to prevent these senseless drownings. Make sure when you choose a swim instructor you check out their ceritifications and how long they have been in the industry. Many people claim to be swim instructors but are not ceritified to teach children. Do your homework before hiring someone who will be working with your child.
No matter how many physical levels of protection you place between your child, verbal communication is vital for ensuring a safe environment. Whether you’re at home or on the road, drowning prevention for children begins with parents who are committed to keeping track of their children throughout the day.
Tragically, many children drown due to poor communication between the adults. It only takes a second of poor supervision for disaster to strike. Earlier this year, Jada Pepin drowned at the Crown Plaza in Melbourne after she feel in the hotel pool. According to family friends who were quoted by Central Florida News 13, Jada’s parents were good, vigilant parents, who lost track of their child. This month, Jada’s parents made an effort to spread awareness about swim safety. They took part in a water safety event at the Wal Mart in Titusville.
Family friend Shannon Bray said this type of accident could happen to anyone. She told Central Florida News 13:
‘”They were those vigilant parents and it was a miscommunication and a child drowned. “
Family friends said they would like laws to force hotels to have better security gates when it comes to hotel pools and lifeguards on duty. At Baby Otter Swim School, we’re always happy to see laws in favor of securing pools, but we remind parents they make the biggest difference and they are the final barrier between their child and a water related disaster.
In addition to a steady stream of communication and an awareness of your child’s whereabouts, you can implement other layers of protection around your home. There should be an alarm on the door that makes a loud noise if the door gets opened. All doors to the pool area should be double bolted and one of the bolts should be at the top where the child can not reach.
Remember, drownings are known as the silent killer, because the victims are unable to exhale and call for help. Together, we can expand awareness about drowning prevention techniques.