WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - It's a parent's worst nightmare: their infant or toddler falling into a pool, just at the moment when their backs are turned. But there's a group in Middle Georgia that's teaching small children as young as 8 months how to instinctively save themselves if no one's there to save them.
1-year-old Charlee Grace Olf has taken to the water like a fish. Sort of. She still cries a little; it's not her favorite pastime. Like any good mom, hers cheers her on on the sidelines, knowing one day she'll thank her.
"We have a pool, and she has 5 big brothers, so we just wanted to make sure if the door was left open or we turned our back for a minute if she did fall in the pool that she'd be able to float," says Jill Olf, Charlee Grace's mom.
Middle Georgia Little Swimmers is a group that meets in Warner Robins and teaches babies and toddlers how to hold their own in the water...a skill the company's owner says is too important to take lightly.
"What we're preparing the children for is that event where they fall into the pool and there perhaps is somebody with their back turned," says Little Swimmers' Owner Victoria Campbell.
That happened to 3-year-old Bryson; luckily, he knew what to do.
"He had been taking these swim lessons since he was an infant and before we could get to him, just that fast he flipped over on his back and floated and self-rescued," his mother Kelly Adams recounts.
Kids like Bryson are proof the program works. Charlee Grace is still in the beginning stages, but she's getting better by the day.
"The first lessons are quite different and when she started out initially she would be completely supported," says Campbell. "When you learn as an infant, it becomes very natural Kind of like walking, we don't remember how we learned how to walk, but we did! So you never remember anything but that you could swim."
The children have a fun way of learning about water safety...Bryson introduced him to me. His name is Josh the Baby Otter.
"He swims...He flips over!," says Bryson holding the stuffed otter. The idea of Josh the Otter was hatched after a young boy named Joshua Collingsworth slipped out of his parents' sight and drowned. His family launched a water safety awareness campaign to get kids to learn about water safety.
There's a special book about Josh the Otter about how he learned to swim with his otter friends. (To learn more aboutt he initiative, click here.
"The main thing is--whether she likes it or not--it's safe," says Olf. And that's all that matters.
May just happens to be National Water Safety month. Middle Georgia Little Swimmers meets at the Quality Inn and Suites off Watson Boulevard. For times and lesson rates, visit middlegeorgialittleswimmers.com