Do you know how to swim? According to a surprising 2014 survey from the American Red Cross, more than half of all Americans didn’t know how to swim or perform basic swimming safety skills. As difficult as that is to believe, this fact is all too real when it comes to stories like the unfortunate one we’re sharing today.

Family Drowns in New Jersey Tragedy

A few weeks ago, three family members drowned in the backyard swimming pool of an East Brunswick, New Jersey home. The victims included 62-year-old Bharat Patel, his 33-year-old daughter-in-law Nisha Patel and Nisha’s eight-year-old daughter. Police found the trio unresponsive after a neighbor called 9-1-1. Though they attempted to perform CPR on the victims, it was too late. Tragically, all three were pronounced dead at the scene.

The Family Didn’t Know How to Swim

Initially, the incident was thought to have been cause by electrocution. However in the end, it was determined that electricity was not a factor. Instead, it seems that the family unfortunately didn’t know how to swim. According to police, they believe the child had fallen into the pool, and her grandfather and mother dove in to rescue her. As they also didn’t know how to swim, the situation likely turned dire rather quickly.

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Learning from Sorrow: The Importance of Swimming Lessons

Though this situation is beyond tragic, there is a way for all of us to learn from it. Swimming is a critical life skill that everyone, young or old, should have. Water safety is something that should always be considered seriously. These people’s lives were cut short because they didn’t know how to swim. Nothing can bring them back, but for the rest of us, it’s never too late to learn.

Anyone can learn to swim. In fact, there are swimming lessons for folks of any age group, even infants. Detailed swimming instruction from a professional teacher is the smartest way to learn how to swim. It can give you the confidence to enter the water and will provide you with extremely helpful instruction. Simply put, these lessons could save your life. If you don’t know how to swim, it is time to take action.

After learning how to swim, you must next determine where it is safe to swim. In ideal circumstances, a person should only swim in lifeguard-protected waters. An attentive lifeguard can mean the difference between life and death.

Swimming Season: Getting Prepared for Summer

Keeping Kids Safe

Finally, let’s discuss children and water. Far too many children have drowned because they didn’t know how to swim. Here are some safety tips in mind:

  • Beware a false sense of security. Just because your child can swim doesn’t mean they don’t need active supervision. Parents or guardians should never let a child stray near the water without carefully monitoring their activities. Installing a pool fence should not be a replacement for active supervision.
  • If you’re in a pool, be aware of where the deep end is. Set guidelines for what areas of the pool your child can enter.
  • If a child goes missing from their home, always check the pool first. It is often the greatest hazard to a child’s health, so it pays to check first.
  • Above all, make sure your child has had swim lessons. These lessons can begin earlier than you may think. As we have learned, this can help to avoid tragedy.