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May is National Water Safety Awareness Month

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more children ages 1 to 4 die from drowning than any other cause of death, except birth defects.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — With warmer temps creeping our way and summer just around the corner, it's crucial to talk water safety.

May is National Water Safety Awareness Month, a time to stress the importance of understanding not only why it's important to know how to swim, but what safe behavior in and around different bodies of water should be, especially for children.

The CDC reports more children ages 1 to 4 die from drowning more than any other cause of death, except birth defects. And for children ages 1 to 14, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death after motor vehicle crashes. 

Goldfish Swim School in Williamsville not only teaches kids how to swim, but pool operations manager Hana Snow says, a key part of their curriculum is helping kids cultivate a strong sense of confidence when it comes to being in the water, starting at a very young age. 

"The biggest thing is knowing that the kids understand water safety and they understand that even though they do feel comfortable and safe at the time anything can happen," Snow says. "We start talking water safety at 4 months old in our mini one lessons, and we continue water safety all the way up to our pro lessons."

But the reality is, not every one can afford swim lessons, all the more reason why raising awareness about the intention of this month is important.

So, what kind of life saving skills should kids know?

Snow tells 2 On Your Side it all starts with getting safely in and out of the pool and ensuring kids know their surrounds at all times. 

"They are learning how to do rollover floats when they are swimming, in case they need that breath, if they're doing long distance. We teach them how to do jump and turns to help them learn what wall they need to go to if they were to ever fall in the water, or jump in the water and need to get out," Snow said.

And that's not all.

"We also practice with them getting out of the water properly, and getting back in the water safely, to make sure they are aware of the dangers of the pool, but also at the same time, they can have fun during their lessons," Snow said. 

Meghan Callahan's 8-year-old son, Pax, is a high needs child and has had a love-hate relationship with water starting at a young age. Now Pax is a swim student at Goldfish, and mom says he's really thriving. 

"Pax has sensory processing disorder and some other things going on, which makes him a high needs kid, and as a result of that we've been learning more about him as we go, but he stopped swimming," Callahan says. "Even the bathtub would be a struggle, but once he was in the tub, he was good."

But this all changed a year ago. Pax is now thriving in the water with his one-on-one instructor.

"When you have something that you can do week by week and you can watch how your child is progressing, sometimes major ways, it's just great," Callahan shares.

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