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Jalyne Johnson helps with swimming lessons at SPAR inSulphur, La., Tuesday, June 30, 2020. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

It's time to dive into summer with some safe swimming lessons for all ages. Sulphur Parks and Recreation is offering swimming lessons to those 6 months and older. They have conducted swim lessons for more than 25 years for the community, and continue to teach all ages throughout the year.

"SPAR Swim Lessons will help overcome any child's — or adult's — fear of the water while helping promote good swim techniques and water safety," said Jessica Walker, SPAR Aquatic Supervisor.

The summer swim lessons are held Monday through Thursday for two weeks, with each lesson being 35 minutes.

Guidelines to keep the swim lesson participants and instructors safe in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak have been established. SPAR has limited the amount of group lessons to 3-4 participants; will sanitize each set of toys or equipment between lessons; practice social distancing whenever possible by keeping a kickboard between the child and instructor; hands will be washed between lessons, which will be held outside, weather permitting; hand sanitizer will be provided at entrance to the SPAR Aquatic Center; and all bathrooms and high-contact surfaces are being cleaned hourly.

Keeping children and adults safe in and around water is a key priority as the weather warms up and more people are swimming.

SPAR Recreation Manager AunJelle Burton said parents, caregivers, facility operators and pool owners must use multiple strategies or devices simultaneously to offer "layers of protection" when around the water.

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Instructor Erin Hidalgo helps a young swimmer Tuesday at SPAR. Sulphur Parks and Recreation offers swimming lessons to those six months and older.

 

Those layers of protection include learning to swim through swim lessons offering water safety skills, active adult supervision of young children by assigning a "water watcher," learning CPR and rescue techniques, having an emergency action plan and keeping a phone nearby.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said one out of every 10 people die from unintentional drowning. Drowning ranks fifth in unintentional injury deaths with children between the ages of 1-4.

"Inflatable devices like water wings, floaties, noodles, and kick boards give swimmers a false sense of security," Walker said.

She said inflatable flotation devices do not substitute for supervision.

More information regarding drowning prevention is available online through the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, www.ndpa.org, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/safechild/Drowning.

For more, call 527-2500 or visit www.sulphurparks.com/swim-lessons.html.

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