Experts say young children should be taught to swim to prevent tragedy

Posted: Updated:
HAWTHORNE -

Officials are investigating the near-drowning of a 7-year-old boy at an East Brunswick water park Monday afternoon.

The boy remains in critical condition. It is one of several near-drowning incidents this summer. Experts say that it can be avoidable and that children should be taught to swim at a young age.

Alecia Bicher says that her 6-year-old daughter Sydney has always been at home in the water. But she says that she wanted to make sure her daughter knew the proper way to swim.

RELATED: Boy remains in critical condition after near-drowning at NJ water park

“She thinks, ‘I can just jump in and I’m fine. I can hold my breath.’ But she forgets about what happens when she comes up, so we wanted to make sure she knows how to get to the side of the pool,” Bicher says.

Elite Gymnastics swim instructor Karen Stevens says that children can be taught to swim as young as 6 months old, in order to get them used to the water. She says that the first lessons include how to float and how to find the wall in the pool.

“God forbid they fall in, they know the wall is back there. I’ve had parents come back to me and say they were right there, their 18-month-old fell in and they were turning to the wall as their mom was reaching for them,” Stevens says.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, drowning is the leading cause of death for kids 1 to 4 years old. The group says that pools are where it is most likely to happen. Experts says that they urge parents to make sure there is always a designated adult watching each child around a pool.

The group also says that kids 5 years old and older are more likely to drown in open water such as ponds, lakes and rivers.

  • New Jersey SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • Your 2018 New Jersey Halloween Costumes

    Your 2018 New Jersey Halloween Costumes

    Monday, October 22 2018 12:09 PM EDT2018-10-22 16:09:22 GMT

    Will you be spooky or scary? Or maybe playful or funny! Whatever your Halloween costumes are this year, News 12 wants to see them!

    Will you be spooky or scary? Or maybe playful or funny! Whatever your Halloween costumes are this year, News 12 wants to see them!

  • New Jersey Homes Decked Out for Halloween

    New Jersey Homes Decked Out for Halloween

    Monday, October 22 2018 3:14 PM EDT2018-10-22 19:14:24 GMT

    Does your street have the houses with the best Halloween decorations? 

    Does your street have the houses with the best Halloween decorations? 

  • Just Married in New Jersey

    Just Married in New Jersey

    News 12 New Jersey wants to announce your wedding.News 12 New Jersey wants to announce your wedding.

    News 12 New Jersey wants to announce your wedding. If you were married in the past 90 days, please submit your photos via Twitter or Instagram using #JustMarriedNJ.  

    News 12 New Jersey wants to announce your wedding. If you were married in the past 90 days, please submit your photos via Twitter or Instagram using #JustMarriedNJ.  

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."