Summer may still be months away - and hard to imagine in the bitter cold of winter - but if learning how to swim is a goal for you or your children, now is the perfect time to take lessons at the newly opened Bellmore Saf-T-Swim.
Founded in 1984 by Jim Hazen, Saf-T-Swim has helped thousands of children and adults learn how to swim.
"We teach everyone to swim, although our main focus is from one year olds to 7 or 8 year olds," said Hazen. "But we have had an infant as young as two months old and a 78-year-old couple come in to learn to swim. Anybody, any age can learn."
Hazen believes Saf-T-Swim's main focus age is significant as there is usually no fear of the water yet and there is no separation anxiety from parents. The lessons teach not only skill but empowerment.
"We teach the kids they can save themselves," Hazen said.
Even if swimming isn't your idea of fun, knowing how to swim can save your life or the life of someone you love. Each year reports of drownings are front page news, which is why knowing the basics of swimming is not just a skill, it is a necessity. According to Newsday, one in three homes on Long Island has some type of pool in their backyard. The debate continues on as to whether adequate fencing, an alarm, or some other warning device can prevent such a tragedy. Saf-T-Swim teaches a proactive approach by giving children and adults the skills to prevent such a tragedy altogether.
Hazen gave up his career in finance to start Saf-T-Swim after his son was born in 1984.
"My son went to a swimming program at Water Babies when he was five months old and he loved it," Hazen said. "I had been a camp counselor and a lifeguard as well so I put it all together to start this."
He also offers some cautionary advice to parents who might be considering having swimming lessons conducted in their home pools.
"There is tremendous liability on the homeowners if something should happen to the instructor," he said. "At Saf-T-Swim, homeowners are protected from that liability".
The Bellmore location is the ninth Saf-T-Swim on Long Island. In February the chain will open in Oceanside making a total of four locations in Nassau County and six in Suffolk County. One on one swimming lessons are supervised by a staff of 15 to 30 instructors with Hazen or a manager supervising all the activity.
Lessons are not the only draw to Saf-T-Swim, however. If you are or know a winter baby tired of winter themed birthday parties, the pool is available on weekends from 3 p.m. for private parties year round.
For more information call 516-557-2114 or visit their Web site.