TAMPA, Fla. — A Tampa Bay swimming instructor is teaching children how to rescue themselves in a pool.
Leo Gonzalez has taught swimming lessons for the past 5 years. He is an Infant Swimming Resource instructor and teaches children self-rescue techniques.
"Lessons are short. They're consistent. We teach them 5 days a week, Monday-Friday for less than 10 minutes," said Leo Gonzalez.
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Gonzalez is teaching 2-year-old Lincoln Morris how to float and find the pool's ledge.
"As a parent, you're like - what are we doing? Should we have done this? Because it's really hard to watch, but after the first few visits you get past it," said Blake Morris, Lincoln's father.
Lincoln started swimming lessons about a year ago. At fist, he struggled.
"Being submerged underwater and trying to figure out how to breathe in the beginning stages. He did not know how to do any of that," said Morris.
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Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children ages 1 to 4. Florida leads the country in drowning deaths of children in that age range.
Locally, two children died this week as a result of drowning.
North Port Police responded to a home on Monday morning for a suspected drowning of a 2-year-old. The child was found in the family's backyard pool. Then on Monday night, deputies in New Port Richey responded to another 2-year-old who apparently drowned. That child was also found floating in a backyard pool.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister released a public service announcement on Tuesday saying child drowning deaths are on the rise across parts of the Tampa Bay area. In the video, the sheriff says more than a thousand children under the age of 14 drown.
He offered a number of safety tips like inspecting areas surrounding pools daily for slip hazards like toys, floats and cleaning supplies.
He also suggested installing safety measures like gates and an alarm around the pool.
"You should put fences, alarms, lock the doors and you should teach your kids how to swim," said Gonzalez.
Lincoln is now successful in the pool. He can float and swim to the ledge of the pool or find the steps.
"Sometimes the least things we could never expect do happen and just having these safety measures in place can really make a difference," said Morris.
For more information on Infant Swimming Resource click here.