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'Play it cool and follow the rules': Water safety for children important as Memorial Day, summer months approach

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Posted at 5:59 PM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-23 17:59:40-04

BALTIMORE — With Memorial Day weekend coming up, many of us will be diving into summer at the pool or the beach.

May is National Water Safety Month.

It’s a reminder to parents to be water aware with their children.

Too often, there are accidents, and sometimes casualties, on the water.

Jack and Charlie Bedard love their weekly swim lessons, but for their mom Catie Bedard, the time they spend in the water is about more than just fun.

"You hear all these things on the news and online about the rate of drownings, how dangerous open water can be for a child, so having them have these skills for the worst case scenario, I think is really important,” Catie Bedard said.

Catie, and her husband, were both lifeguards in high school and college and taught swimming lessons.

They have four children between the ages 6 to five months.

All are swimmers or in lessons except for the youngest.

"Jack loves swimming,” Catie Bedard said. “He's doing a great job because of the teachers here and Lee's not in lessons yet, but when he gets in the tub, he goes crazy."

Mel Burman, who runs the Goldfish Swim School in Columbia, says safety should always be a priority when near the water.

"The first thing your little one wants to do when they get out the car, at the beach or the pool, they want to run to the water have fun, but that's the last think we want them to do,” Burman said. “We teach our swimmers to never jump in the pool if there's not a lifeguard there.

"Play it cool and follow the rules. Lifeguards here are like the police but of the water."

And once they reach the water, Burman and her club is arming them with the skills they need to stay afloat.

"I was really excited for them to get in the water and see how they acclimated to it and they all did great,” Catie Bedard said.

Learning lessons, especially for parents, could save lives.

If there's no lifeguard, a water guardian will do.

However, that means no book, smartphone, or smart watch and your full attention has to be on your swimmers.