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Recent Study Confirms Swim Lessons Have Protective Effect against Drowning

By Dave Tonneson

Swim Kids Swim School announces its support on research announced earlier this week by the National Institute of Health. The study states that providing young children with swimming lessons has a protective effect against drowning and allays concerns that lessons could increase risk by reducing parental supervision and vigilance.

“We are so pleased that there is finally a study showing the positive correlation of swimming lessons and drowning prevention,” said Dave Tonnesen, owner of SwimKids Swim Schools of Manassas, Woodbridge, and Fredericksburg, Virginia. “Learning to swim is such an important part of every child’s upbringing and education, not only for fun and fitness, but because it can potentially save their life.”

The study concludes that participating in formal swimming lessons was associated with an 88% reduction in the risk of drowning in children between the ages of 1 to 4. (Arch Pediatr Med. 2009; 163(3):203-210)

“For years, parents have told us stories about how their child’s involvement in swimming has helped save their life,” said Tonnesen. “As coaches, we have known intuitively that swim instruction is huge part of preventing tragedy in and around the water. Rivers, lakes, and swimming pools are a part of everyone’s lives. Swim instruction, along with barrier protection and appropriate supervision, is the key.”

The research, completed under the direction of Duane Alexander, M.D., director at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, states the findings should ease concerns that swim lessons may lead to parental inattention. The study contradicts a previous statement made by the American Academy of Pediatrics and supports the viewpoint of SwimKids Swim School and other swim schools across the country. Swimming lessons are considered an appropriate part of a comprehensive drowning prevention strategy that should also include pool fencing, adult supervision and CPR training. The findings appear in the March Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Health. For the full press release from the National Institute of Health, please visit

About SwimKids Swim School

SwimKids Swim School, which opened in 1997, teaches swimming lessons at 6 northern Virginia locations for ages six months to adult. Lessons are offered year-round with small class sizes with the goal of helping each child develop self-esteem, confidence, and a love for swimming, while teaching them to become water-safe. Certified swim instructors use positive reinforcement and simple steps that break down swim strokes into an easy-to-learn progression.

Dave Tonnesen, owner of SwimKids Swim School, has been an aquatics professional for over 20 years, coaching everything from SwimBabies to U.S. Olympic Trials. Former Potomac News Coach of the Year, Coach Tonnesen has coached numerous area swim teams and was awarded a commendation from the Prince William County Board of Supervisors for his work as Head Coach of the Prince William County Special Olympics Swim Team. For further information on SwimKids Swim School or to enroll your child in lessons, please visit

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Pouches' Community Corner

Bikers Against Child Abuse, Inc. (BACA) exists to create a safer environment for abused children by empowering children to not feel afraid of their world. Imagine how an abused child feels when a group of large bikers rides up to their house, inducts them into their club and then escorts them to court to testify against their abuser.

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