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May 2, 2013 9:00 PM

Prescriptions for swim lessons

TUCSON - When you bring your child to swim lessons, everyone's focused on the child. But parents need more information also.

Dr. Jessica Schultz, a pediatrician with Children's Medical Center of Tucson has a water safety talk with families during those critical well checks.

On the day Kristi's Kids was there, Dr. Schultz asked Angela and Gilbert Preciado if they have a swimming pool and if it has a proper barrier while their 1- month-old son Lucas sits on their lap.

Dr. Schultz is about to do something different for Lucas.

"So we're gonna give you guys a prescription today," Dr. Schultz tells the Preciado's.

Dr. Schultz is joining a movement to prescribe Water Safety Classes to parents and Swim Lessons for kids at well baby checks.

There's a lot for parents to learn.

"The bucket drowning. I never thought that could really occur," says Angela. "That was surprising to me that that happens."

"The bath safety too," says Gilbert. "We get comfortable because he is kind of on his own and can play by himself. But you know, you gotta keep your eyes on him."

The prescription doctors write for swim lessons are not redeemable like a prescription for medication. Instead, it's an effective way to send a message to parents.

"You generally listen to what your physician has to say," explains Dr. Schultz. "And take that with a little bit more weight than what you might hear from someone else."

Water Smart Babies is a program, up in Phoenix and in other states, promoting this dialogue with doctors and young families.

The program is making its way to Pima County to help prevent future accidents.

"I've had a few patients who've had near drownings in the bathtub," says Dr. Schultz. "Because mom turned her back for a second or went to go get the phone in the other room."

Click here for an aquatic safety list.

And click here for more information about Water Smart Babies.


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