Turning Near Tragedy into Safety for SCV Swimmers
May, 2019 - Issue #176
courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock

It was a day like any other. SCV residents Nikki and Jim Miller, busy parents to two small children, had just returned from a much-needed lunch date. A quick glance outside, though, changed everything.

"We saw wet clothes and vomit on the deck of our spa," says Nikki. "It was one of those moments when your blood just instantly runs cold."

While the babysitter was inside on the phone, 1-year-old Dakota had crawled into the outdoor spa. "Our older son, Garrett, who had just turned 4, saw that his baby brother was making no effort to move. When Garrett couldn't reach the baby from the side, he jumped in and was able to pull him to safety. What is blood curdling is that more often than not, this would have resulted in a double drowning, as the terrified victim clutches onto the rescuer."

Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children ages 1 to 4 than any other cause except for birth defects. "After we did the research, we realized that so many families have similar stories - but their children died or were permanently brain damaged. We became committed to water safety education. For the rest of our lives, we will do whatever we have to in order to prevent these kinds of tragic events from occurring," says the activist.

Fast forward to today, when once-little Dakota Miller is now vice president of the family's Santa-Clarita-based business, the Academy Swim Club. "Water-safety education is a huge part of my life. Had my brother not known how to swim, I wouldn't be here today. I am deeply committed to changing our culture so that more families and communities prioritize water safety. It's literally a matter of life and death - but there's a flip side to that, too. Once you know how to swim, it can become such an incredibly-positive part of your life and a focal point of so much of California recreation! We like to say that it's the only exercise you can do from your first breath to your last."

Academy Swim Club's "Every Child a Swimmer by 3" Plan
"When people find out that we can take swimming students as young as 2 weeks old, they are shocked!" says Dakota. "But we're thrilled that so many SCV parents are recognizing the need for early swim instruction - especially since our community is jam packed with pools and so many of our neighbors love to go to the beach and lakes. Infants have a swim reflex until about 4 to 6 months of age. They can learn to swim independently at about 8 months, when the capacity of their lungs is able to float them to the surface of the water, where they can catch a breath on their own."

Many parents think that their time in the pool with their child, or a lesson about staying away from pools without an adult, is enough. "Kids, for better and worse, are drawn to water. It's magical - and dangerous," explains Dakota. "Playing with floaties in the pool with Mom builds their confidence in the water - which can be very dangerous when they can't swim, and in no way prepares a toddler for what to do if they fall in while playing at a neighbor's house. That's where our fun lessons come in. They'll learn, for example, how to swim to the side and float with their clothes on, how to hold on and what to do if an accident happens. It's not an alternative to constant supervision, but it's an essential backup that saves lives."

Get your Free No-Obligation Trial Lesson Today
Want to see how your child takes to the water under the direction of warm, professional swim educators? A complimentary private trial lesson is just the thing! During your trial, your child will be given a swim assessment in warm water, which helps them feel more relaxed. While your child's level is determined, you'll receive answers to any questions you have and be able to watch other students' progress, as well as your child's. Ready to sign up? Be sure to calendar Academy Swim Club's Water Safety Program. Held every four months, students arrive to the pool fully dressed, with bathing suits beneath. "They jump in," says Dakota Miller, "to get a feel for what it would be like if they fell into a pool, lake or ocean. We teach them how to react safely, to not panic. It is a lifesaving exercise for sure." The practical education is just one way the Miller family helps Santa Clarita kids stay safer around water. "Academy Swim Club's instructors are extraordinarily well trained for any age of student, from newborn to adult. They have to have 40 hours of certification just to be hired by us, as well as Red Cross lifeguard certified, and then they continue their education here with infants, special needs and swim athletes. We don't just have the best indoor pool, facility and staff - we have the best hearts! We're so confident about this that every lesson is guaranteed! This is our passion," says Dakota.
Schedule your free trial by calling Academy Swim Club at (661) 702-8585. www.
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