As a lifeguard it's my job to save people who are in need and to teach children (and adults) how to swim so they can save their life. I always teach my "students" to never swim without a buddy and I'm always telling parents during free swim to make sure your arms-lengh away and dear-god-hold-on-to-that-child!
As a lifeguard/swimming teacher I believe that every single person on this earth should know how to swim. Along with that I believe those people should be educated about water safety, for example no drinking and swimming, swim with a friend (as I said before), parents GO INTO THE WATER WITH YOUR KIDS! Even if they know how to swim.
That brings me to my next point. Even if your kids know how to swim and have taken lessons, doesn't matter. As lifeguards we cannot swim without another lifeguard on the deck with us, watching to make sure nothing happens. Sounds silly right? I know how to swim (duh) but I need another guard there just.in.case because you never know. So people, get in the water.
It breaks my heart when I hear about drownings. In the Toronto area alone, there have been many cases of people drowning in the past few weeks. They have been the classic child falls into family pool while gate was open, to the rare, women who has in condo hot tub who had a heart attack and went under water. It truly breaks my heart.
As I'm writing this I do realize swimming lessons are expensive. Where I work its $64 dollars for a 30min, once a week lesson that lasts 9 weeks. And? Parents have more than one child. It adds up. I get it, but there are free programs for families who need financial support and new to Canada. I'll I say, is take advantage of them. It's worth it.
As we went summer time, I ask that everyone is smart about their choices while they are around water. Please be safe. Oh and life jackets? Don't save life's. Don't just strap your child in one and think, it'll keep them up. Don't rely on them.