Baby & Beyond: Kids learn to swim in their clothes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Baby & Beyond: Kids learn to swim in their clothes


Drownings are the second leading cause of accidental injury death for children under the age of 14.

A swim school in Texas is taking typical swimming lessons to the next level, preparing kids for a real life situation they say could easily happen.

It's clothesline day at Emler Swim School. The lesson where kids ditch the swimsuit, taking a dip in their clothes instead.

They think it's fun. But having fallen in the family pool on two different occasions, Kaly England's mom knows it can make all the difference in a real world accident.

"The second time in particular it was a cold day outside," mother Suzanne England said. "She was in a dress and she had fancy shoes on. And she just took one long step. She's always been precocious and in she went."

The accident happened when Kaly was near age two, the age swimming experts say kids are in the most danger around the water.

"When you talk about pre-schoolers anything can throw them off," founder Jane Emler said. "And when they practice over and over again with goggles on and a swim suit, they think that's the only way they swim. So it's really important that we broaden their understanding that swimming can occur, maybe not as well, but it can occur with your clothes on."

Kaly England had been through this exercise a number of times before.

"I just kind of watched and within a few seconds she had swam to the side of that wall and out she went," England said.

And that's the hope for all of the students.

"And if it's an accident, if it's a surprise, if the water's cold, you still do the same thing," Emler said. "You turn around and you get back to that wall."

Even though summer is slowing down, places like the YMCA and recreation centers offer swimming lessons year round. However, the idea of teaching kids to swim in clothes is still a new idea.

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