Instructors: Always watch your kids around water, even if they are good swimmers

Kids that have had swimming lessons can sometimes give parents a false sense of security of their skill level when water is completely unpredictable.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Three-year-old Brady is swimming like a champ in his survival swimming class. After swimming a few seconds with his face in the water, he rolls onto his back, takes a breath and rests for a few more seconds before swimming again towards the wall.

He swims under the close supervision of his instructor Tracy Herbst - who is an arm reach away.

His father, Rony Assali, who watches pool side, knows this lesson will only make his son safer around the pool.

“Brady, before we started was under the impression he already knew how to swim because he was taking swim lessons. We were just taking standard swim lessons. Every time he was near a pool, my fear was always, was he going to jump in thinking he knew how to swim and he would just drop to the bottom,” said Assali.

Swimming lessons and pool fences are two of the best ways to keep kids safe around water.

Tracy Herbst, a certified infant swimming resource instructor and owner of Arcadia Swim for Kids, encourages parents to constantly watch their kids around water.

“Water is completely unpredictable. An adult can drown. A kid can drown. A senior can drown. Anyone can drown in the wrong situation,” said Herbst.

Herbst says some parents overestimate the swimming skill level of their child and watch them less. But anything can still happen -- from accidents to exhaustion.

“Jumping in, they can hit their head. Just getting the warning out. That’s one of the biggest things people forget about. Swimming is exhausting. If you let your children swim for an extended period of time. They are exhausted and that's when accidents happen really easily,” said Herbst.

Keep your eyes peeled at public pools and don't rely on lifeguards to do all the work, Herbst recommends. Lifeguards have a whole pool full of swimmers to watch.

Open water situations such as swimming in the lakes is not the same as swimming in a pool.

“When you're swimming in open water, that's a different game. Those edges aren't right there. The water is dark. The waves are there. It's choppy,” said Herbst.

Assali has a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old taking Herbst’s survival class. He and his wife have a strategy for watching their two little ones in the pool.

“We try to do a more one-to-one ratio. I've never gone swimming with the two kids and me. We always make sure the adults outnumber the kids. Typically, my wife and I will tag team up. It’s never they’re out swimming alone per se, but more of they are swimming to me. Practicing with me. Playing with me. That kind of thing,” said Assali.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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