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HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -
When the weather warms up, a lot of little ones love to hit the water. If your child happens to fall into a pool or river, would he or she know what to do to stay alive? A Harrison County couple recently started a program to help prevent drowning accidents. They're teaching children not only to swim, but to survive.
You will find a bunch of children swimming in the Laneys' pool this summer. Allison and Greg Laney operate Mississippi Gulf Coast Lil' Shrimps Swim Academy at their home off Doc Lizana Road.
"Being an ER nurse for so many years and taking care of so many children who drowned in the ER, it really hit home when I had a child that I didn't want him to be a drown victim," said Allison Laney.
"I was going to drive my son to Mobile, that was the closest lesson. Once I realized all the other parents on the coast were having to do the same exact thing, it just didn't make sense. We need it here," she said.
Laney teaches children, from six months to six years old, basic swimming techniques first. Then, she focuses on a sequence of steps to show the little ones how to save themselves.
"It's one-on-one. I customize it to each child," said Laney. "We allow them to swim, and then get into a floating position to rest and get air, and then turn and swim again. Whereas the other programs just kind of teach them to go to the wall. But there's not always a wall. There are ponds, there's beaches, there's lakes."
Ericka McPeters signed-up her five-year-old son, Carter. Two years ago, Carter was swimming with family and friends. In a matter of seconds, he ended up at the bottom of the pool.
"We had a near drowning incident. We had to go to USA, so we actually never want to experience that again, see your kid come out of a pool near purple," said McPeters.
Carter completed the program and feels more comfortable around water now.
"Allison will ask him and he'll say, 'I'm not going to sink anymore,'" said McPeters.
"The lessons are tough. A lot of times they do cry a lot, because they're going through a lot of separation anxiety amidst the fact that they're learning a really hard skill. So I want them to enjoy the water, but I want them to be safe and find enjoyment in the water," said Laney.
The lessons last eight weeks and there are sessions offered throughout the year. The cost is $70 a week. You can contact the Laneys at LilShrimpswim@gmail.com.