UNITED STATES—Summer is here and the heat is on. That means plenty of people are doing whatever they can to cool off, especially with that heatwave that is putting a beating on the west coast of the country. Most people tend to cool off with a dip in the water or the pool. With that said, the pool as fun as it can be, can also be very dangerous. Look, I know not everyone knows how to swim, but learning how to swim is an important skill. I don’t care what age you are, you can learn to swim at any age.

Rather you’re 2 years-old or 80 years-old, learning to swim can be the difference between saving a life or not. My sister placed my niece in swim class I think at the age of 3 and she has been swimming ever since. She can actually swim much better than a ton of adults I know. Swimming is not easy, but if you’re properly taught it is a skill that you will never forget and if you need it to survive or to save a life you can properly do so.

I have heard a handful of stories in the past few weeks of children in particular, nearly drowning and some actually drowning after being in a pool, a lake or at the beach. When it comes to kids in particular and water, adults have to be aware of those children. You cannot take your eyes off a kid in a pool ever, I don’t care if it is for 5 or 10 seconds. Those 10 seconds can be the difference between life and death.

I just recently saw a video of a 2 year-old that was in a pool, with adults and somehow sank to the body of the body, the father immediately jumped into action pulling the child from the pool and performing CPR, just as the cops arrived and continued to pat the child’s back to ensure he was properly breathing. Quick thinking saved a life, but at the same time, even with parents in a pool, and being vigilant it only takes a second for a potential tragedy to strike people.

What does that mean? Ensure the child has a life jacket on, especially in any body of water. A pool a must, a lake or at the beach should be mandatory. Too many children venture off in these massive bodies of water and before the child can realize it they’re having trouble swimming or staying afloat and those seconds of being deprived of oxygen can deem someone brain dead or leave them dead. The lifejacket and the floaties on the arm can help the child stay afloat.

Parents also just have to ensure they are watching the kids. There should be a parent watching every single kid that is in the water, in addition to an actual adult in the water, watching the kids to ensure all is ok. I can speak from personal experience almost drowning as a 3 to 4 year-old at my uncle’s pool. As kids, me and my siblings loved and I mean loved the pool. We could be in the pool for hours on end without ever getting bored. However, one of my cousins pushed me into the pool and I was flailing my arms and kicking my feet. Everyone thought I was just messing around, but when I finally went under water, it became a realization for everyone that I was in trouble, and my oldest sister jumped into the water pulled me out and started performing CPR.

Till this day, I still haven’t forgiven my cousin for that stunt. Knowing CPR is the difference between life and death. Knowing how to properly perform it is something that needs to be taught in all schools to all students. Knowing how to give oxygen and perform those press compressions at the right location is vital people because every second counts. When a kid in particular has been deprived of oxygen getting them conscious and breathing as soon as possible can prevent further brain damage.

People have to remember if a person cannot swim starts to panic and another person who also CANNOT swim attempts to rescue them the situation becomes more dangerous. Why? The person who initially is in danger, panics even more and can bring that person attempting to rescue them underwater as well. Swimming is something that needs to be taught in schools. It was when I was growing up, but more and more schools are halting teaching students to swim and it’s a detriment to survival; it is a skill we all need and should possess.

Written By Jason Jones