It's happened again near our little town. A 7 year old girl attending a birthday party at a hotel pool drowned. She forgot to put her water wings on and jumped into the deep end of the pool.
I've been a lifeguard and taught swimming to hundreds of people over the years. I'm appalled when I'm on a cruise (or anywhere near water) when I see kids with their flotation "toys" on - all it takes is one forgetful moment. By age 3 or 4 everyone should be able to swim.
There are countless swimming programs everywhere and they start at very young ages. It's really easy to learn to swim and the peace of mind for everyone involved is priceless.
So - please see that your kids and grandkids are taught to swim.
On our Bermuda cruise last year while swimming in Tabacco Bay my son ended up in a deeper section of the water than he planned and went under. He has not had swim lessons so is not great in the water. Luckily I was close by to him to grab him but this summer he is taking private swim lessons. It scared me to death and we will be prepared for Aruba.
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My gosh that is so awful, what were those parents thinking letting a child who could NOT swim go to a swim party with water wings! As the parent giving the party I would have insisted the parent stay and watch own child, too many kids.
I also have never allowed any of my children to have swim parties until they were ten and all kids could swim and get dressed indepently. I could not guarantee the safety of kids swimming while I may be trying to set up cakes etc.
Same with cruising, if you can afford to criuse YES you can afford swim lessons for your child. No one should go on a beach vacation with a non swimmer.