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Never too young for kids to learn to swim

VALRICO

Nine babies spin through the water as parents suspend them in the pool, turn in circles and sing "the wheels on the bus go round and round … "

A few of the children are crying at their Tuesday morning swim class. The big pool at the Campo Family YMCA in Valrico can be a scary thing for babies.

But it's less scary for parents, who know that if their children fall into a pool, they'll be able to swim to the edge.

"We live in Florida, and we're around pools and the ocean, so it's important" said Nicole Heald, who takes her 10-month-old daughter to the class.

At the swim classes, children learn how to float or swim to the edge of a pool if they fall in, but the Red Cross also recommends installing a pool fence to keep curious children away.

Ed Peters of Apollo Beach installs several fences each day for Baby Barrier, a company that started in 1963 when the owner heard about a baby drowning in a pool.

"I think that everyone that has a swimming pool should have a fence," Peters said. "Even if they don't have children, they could have guests that have children."

Fences are helpful, but swim lessons are an extra layer of protection, said Katja Borosch of Kinderswim. She teaches babies to roll onto their backs and float, just in case they get past fences.

She says there's another important reason to learn how to swim: It's fun.

"And it's a great family activity," she said.

Summer swim lessons are gearing up across southeast Hillsborough County.

Whether it's survival swim classes or stroke lessons, instructors are encouraging parents to enroll their kids this summer.

"It doesn't matter who teaches them," said Kari Bahour, who teaches Infant Swim lessons from her home. "We just need to keep these kids safe and prevent drowning."

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at (813) 661-2443 or jvandervelde@sptimes.com.

.MORE INFO

Pool safety tips

• Learn to swim.

• Never leave a child unobserved around water.

• Put a phone near the pool to call 911 in an emergency.

• Learn CPR and insist that others who care for your child know CPR.

• Enclose the pool completely with a self-locking, self-closing fence with vertical bars. Fence openings should be no more than four inches wide, and the house should not be included as a part of the barrier. The gate should be constructed so that it is self-closing and self-latching.

• Keep basic lifesaving equipment by the pool such as poles, ropes, and personal flotation devices.

• Keep toys away from the pool when it is not in use. Toys can attract young children to the pool.

Source: American Red Cross

Swimming lessons

Here are some locations in the area that offer swim lessons this summer.

Club Location Contact info Ages Classes/prices
Apollo Beach
Racquet and
Fitness Club
6520 Richies Way, Apollo Beach (813) 641-1922,
www.abrfc.com
2 years
and older
Group classes: eight 45-minute
classes, $96.
Brandon Family YMCA 3097 S Kingsway Road, Seffner (813) 685-5402 6 months and older Group classes: eight 45-minute classes, $50 for members, $80 for nonmembers. Private classes: one 30-minute class, $25 for members, $35 for nonmembers.
Brandon Sports & Aquatic Center 405 Beverly Blvd. (813) 689-0908,
www.mybsac.org, then click on programs, then swim lessons.
6 months and older Eight 40-minute classes, $95 for members, $100 for nonmembers, maximum six children per instructor. Minigroup classes: five 40-minute classes, $114 for members, $120 for nonmembers, maximum three children per instructor. Parent and tot classes: four 30-minute classes, $42.25 for members, $45 for nonmembers. Private classes: five 30-minute classes, $142 for members, $150 for nonmembers.
Campo Family YMCA 3414 Culbreath Road, Valrico (813) 684-1371 6 months and older Group classes: eight 45-minute classes, $50 for members, $80 for nonmembers. Private classes: one 30-minute class, $25 for members, $35 for nonmembers.
FishHawk Ranch YMCA Express 16144 Churchview Drive, Lithia (813) 651-4200 3 and older Group classes: eight 45-minute classes, $50 for members, $80 for nonmembers. Private classes: one 30-minute class, $25 for members, $35 for nonmembers.
Infant Swim Meet at instructors'
or customers' pools
www.infantswim.com 6 months
to 6 years
Private classes: five 10-minute classes,
starting at $65.
Kinder Swim With Katja Borosch at her Brandon home (813) 653-7138; www.kinderswim.com 6 months to 7 years Private classes: four 10-minute classes, $65.
Plant City Family YMCA 1507 YMCA Place, Plant City (813) 757-6677 3 and older Group classes: six 45-minute classes, $33 for members, $49 for nonmembers; four 45-minute sessions, $22 for members, $33 for nonmembers. Private classes: one 30-minute class, $25 for members, $35 for nonmembers.
Sharks &
Minnows
Swim School
• Springs at Bloomingdale, 5959 Bandera Springs Circle, Riverview.
• Indigo Point, 1850 Providence Lakes Blvd., Brandon.
• Lake St. Charles, 6801 Colonial Lake Drive, Riverview.
1-800-511-7946; www.sharksandminnows.com. 6 months and older Group classes: eight 30-minute classes, $110. Private classes: eight 30-minute classes, $220.
Summerfield
Crossing
13011 Summerfield Blvd., Riverview (813) 671-2005 6 months and older Group classes: eight 45-minute classes, $55 for residents, $60 for nonresidents, with registration priority for residents.
SwimKids USA Riverhills Country Club, 3943 New River Hills Parkway, Valrico (813) 991-6258 8 months and older Group classes: eight 30-minute classes, $128.
Water Elements Swim School in Brandon Brandon Sports & Aquatic Center, 405 Beverly Blvd. waterelementswim

@aol.com
Teen through adults Group classes: eight hours for $240, includes a book.
YMCA Camp
Cristina
9840 Balm-Riverview Road, Riverview (813) 677-8400 6 months and older Group classes: eight 45-minute classes, $50 for members, $80 for nonmembers. Private classes: one 30-minute class, $25 for members, $35 for nonmembers.

Never too young for kids to learn to swim 05/22/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 27, 2008 8:28am]
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