JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Drowning is one of the leading causes of death among children. According to the CDC, more children ages 1-4 die from drowning than any other cause in the United States.
But there's a new business on the First Coast that hopes to teach kids to swim and learn to socialize at the same time.
It may seem like a simple activity, but the act of jumping in the pool and floating is a big step for 6 year old Koan after going through lessons at SwimFun Academy.
"Being here in Florida, we have water everywhere," said Paige Kirshner, Aquatics Director at SwimFun Academy. "So it's important to have kids in lessons so they can save themselves in case there's an accident."
Koan is advancing through SwimFun's one-on-one Survival Aquatics Program, which is also available to kids 6 months and older, like his younger sister Vivian.
"They are learning how to rotate and get to a float from any position, so if they fall in sideways or head first they are able to rotate and get to their back," said Kirshner.
Koan has also learned how to kick to a wall or ladder, which is a huge reassurance for his mom after the family recently moved from Illinois to St. Johns County.
"We have a pool in our back yard," said Koan's mom Amanda Burritt. "So it gives me piece of mind that God forbid I leave the door open or a kid gets out I know they're going to be ok."
But SwimFun is more than just swim lessons.
"SwimFun was born and bred on the First Coast," said Bobby Panfili, "when they get out of the pool they have this environment that's immersive and it's fun and handling that mind, body and soul element."
In the same facility as the pool, there's a virtual reality STEM lounge as well as a gaming area.
"Roblox, Minecraft, things that kids play," said Panfili, "but 're making it more of a socialization aspect."
All with the hopes of not only teaching kids to swim, but to learn and make friends in the process. If you would like to learn more about SwimFun here is a link to their website: https://swimfun.com/.