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National Learn to Swim Day

National Learn to Swim Day, hosted by Swimways,

National Learn to Swim Day, hosted by Swimways, will take place on Saturday, May 17, 2014. Credit: Swimways

Today marks the third annual National Learn to Swim Day, hosted by Swimways. As the weather heats up, you'll likely be packing up the kids and hitting the local pools, lakes and beaches to cool off. But families should know the importance of learning to swim as well as water safety tips before jumping in.

To help you get started, here are some water safety tips for parents to keep in mind before Memorial Day weekend and the official start of summer.

-- Get your child comfortable in the water at an early age.

-- Introduce your child to the water using a baby float designed to help children feel comfortable and build water confidence.

-- Once your child is ready to learn to swim, use a graduated flotation device.

-- While you may feel your little one has the skills to swim unassisted, remember it takes a lot of courage to traverse the water without help.

-- It's often beneficial for a child to ease into swimming with a little extra support, like a kickboard, before taking their first solo strokes.

-- Never leave your child unattended in or near the water. Teach children to understand that they must always ask for permission before they go near the water.

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