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Do you underestimate your child's drowning risk? Study says maybe so

Study shows 1 in 3 parents would let child over 6 swim alone​

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Do you underestimate the drowning risks of your child? A recent study at Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan found that one out of three parents said they would allow their children over 6 years old to swim alone.

News4Jax on Tuesday went to a swimming class in the Riverside area to speak with some moms about the startling study.

The swimming class was one with 5-, 6- and 7-year-olds. Despite their coach, who has taught for years, being present, parents said it didn't hurt to have a second, third and fourth pair of eyes present at the pool.

Mom Kristen Miller said her two kids don't know how to swim. With drowning being the second leading cause of injury related-deaths in kids age 1 to 15, Miller said she is working on making sure her kids learn how.

The study revealed that more than a third of parents would allow their child to be in a home, hotel or neighborhood pool without adult supervision, while 16 percent would allow their child to be unsupervised at a lake and 13 percent at an ocean.

Miller said there is never a time she would leave her kids alone.

"That's not OK," Miller said. "Kids are a little reckless, especially with other kids, and they take chances that are not necessarily safe chances to take."

That's one reason swim coach Kerry Wick said it's vital for parents to always supervise their children. 

"Most children are not strong swimmers," Wick said. "Even if they can swim the length of the pool, then they can't always swim the second length. They could get a cramp or swallow water or anything, and an accident can happen very quickly."

According to Science Daily, which published the study, the most common reasons parents said their child has not taken swim lessons are:

  • Their child learned to swim without them.
  • Lessons cost too much.
  • The time or location of lessons was not convenient
  • Lessons are not a priority.
  • Classes are not available in their area.