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Adelphi Instructor: Get Kids Swimming At An Early Age

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Long Island has seen many tragedies, where children are curious about swimming pools and end up falling in and dying.

As WCBS 880's Sophia Hall reported, an instructor at Adelphi University is working to end the tragedies by urging parents to get their children into the water at an early age.

Adelphi Instructor: Get Kids Swimming At An Early Age

Dr. Angela Beale, an assistant professor at the university, runs the "Project Guard: Make a Splash" program. The free after-school lifeguard training program is available to high school students, and provides certification and guaranteed job placement following the course.

Beale said getting children into the water early is crucial for safety.

"You can get your child into the water at six months of age, where you get your child familiar with an aquatic background," she said.

Beale added that children should learn survival skills.

"If they have exposure early, they can actually tread and roll themselves over on their little backs," she said.

Some programs have placed Beale's advice into action. Earlier this week, CBS 2's Jennifer McLogan reported on the "world's largest swimming lesson" at the Bay Shore YMCA.

"It only takes a minute," said Bob Pettersen of the Great South Bay YMCA. "You hear this all the time – you've got to be vigilant, you have to supervise your children, and you have to teach your kids how to swim. That can save a child."

The mother of two children who lost their lives in a backyard pool has also joined the call for early swimming lessons and safety.

Ralph Knowles, 5, and Sharon Knowles, 7, drowned in a neighbor's unguarded above-ground pool in Central Islip back on April 14. Police officers jumped into the 4-foot-deep pool and found the brother and sister's lifeless bodies submerged inside.

Their mother, Tia Knowles, said the now wants to become an advocate for early swim lessons and backyard pool safety.

"It could have been prevented," she said.

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