AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — With the temperatures on the rise, families throughout Western New York are looking for places to cool off and go for a swim. As they begin hitting pools and beaches for the summer, many of these families are taking the extra step to protect young children around water.

“Living in Western New York, we are so lucky to be near a lake, have pools, access to all this water,” said Goldfish Swim School Director of Operations Courtney Richardson. “And I think having those safety skills is going to be so important to give parents that peace of mind when they go by water this summer.”

Some parents are taking the plunge in making sure their children are safe in the water.

“I don’t care if they know how to ride a bike, if they can shoot a basket,” said Williamsville mom Sarah Carson. “They need to know how to swim, because that’s the only sport that could save their life one day.”

According to the CDC, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1-4. here at goldfish swim school, they teach water safety tips as these lessons could save their lives.

“Children who start lessons at a younger age have an 88% reduced risk of drowning,” Richardson said. “So it’s so important for families to learn these safety skills, so they can take them home and practice and make sure that they’re safer in and around the water

They also stress that swim lessons should focus on helping young children feel comfortable in the water and for parents to take precautionary measures to keep drowning from happening.

“Having someone designated to watch the children in the water is the first layer of protection,” Richardson said. “Another really important one for weaker or non-swimmers is wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Floaties that are inflatable aren’t sufficient because they’re more susceptible to damage.”

They also recommended children wear bright-colored swimsuits in the water, so it’s easier to notice if they slip below the water, as well as having extra barriers around pools, and to enroll children in swim lessons and practice these measures together.

For more information or to sign a child up for swim lessons, click here.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.