MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - A Minneapolis water park was one of 500 pools around the globe to take part in the World's Largest Swimming Lesson Friday afternoon.
Approximately 300 kids turned out at the North Commons Water Park in north Minneapolis for the event. The kids learned everything from how to get in and out of the water safely to simple strokes to help them keep their heads above water.
Drowning is the second leading cause of death from unintentional injuries to kids. The event, put on by the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board and Abbey's Hope Charitable Foundation, was designed to bring awareness about pool safety.
"Swimming lessons save lives and the more access they can get to water safety ,the safer they are going to be around water," Abbey's Hope founder Katey Taylor said.
Taylor lost her daughter Abbey in 2008 after the six-year-old sat on an covered pool drain and had her intestines sucked out.
Since then, Abbey's Hope Foundation has worked to improve pool safety and educate parents and children about the importance of swimming lessons, particularly in communities of color where the drowning rate is often several times higher than for whites.
"Through our foundation, we've learned there are a lot of people who don't have access to water and water safety lessons. So Abbey's hope truly was what happened to her, never happen to someone else," Taylor said.
Thuy Nguyen says her sons Chung and Khanh are already strong swimmers, but it never hurts to brush up on their water safety skills so they never get in over their heads.
"I don't want to see the kids get in any accidents," Nguyen said. "Even though they have had swimming lessons, they still need to learn basic skills. It saves lives."
Taylor says parents also need to watch their kids when they are in the water.
Even though some lakes and pools have lifeguards, they cannot keep their eye on everyone at the same time.