According to the CDC, drowning is the leading cause of death for children between the ages of one and four.

As more people head to the water to cool off this summer, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to stay safe.

“We live in an area that has a lot of water, a lot of people are interested in water activities and being on the water. So here I think it’s key,” says Ali Meeks, owner of Ready, Set, Splash!

Meeks says learning to swim is a bit like learning a language. It is a necessary skill that takes time to learn.

“Everyone is different. Just like learning a language, everyone has their own skills, abilities and willingness to learn,” she says.

The earlier someone starts, the better. On your marks, get set, swim! teaches children from the age of 3 years.

“If we’re just talking about being able to get those basics of can I float on my stomach and can I float on my back and can I get in between, then that can be taught pretty quickly,” explains Meeks.

With 150 clients in Athens and Decatur, it was one of his busiest seasons to date.

“It’s been a really busy month of April. I think with COVID we’ve seen a lot of places not being able to hold lessons and a lot of families are hesitant to swim and start with that,” Meeks says.

However, swimming is only half the battle when it comes to water safety.

“The most important pool safety tip is parental supervision,” she says.

If you need to turn your back for a while, Meeks says to have other safety measures in place.

“What we like to call ‘engineered controls’ or things on the building that are going to keep kids out. Fences, alarms, locks,” she says.

When you’re on a boat, make sure you have plenty of flotation devices.

“I swam in college, I’m a full-time swim instructor, and I wear a life jacket when I’m on a boat. Because you never know what’s going to happen,” Meeks says.

She says swimming isn’t just an essential life skill, it’s also something you can enjoy for years to come once you learn it.

On your marks, get set, splash! offers swimming lessons every day of the week at SportsFit in Athens and Decatur.