GARDEN CITY, N.J. (CBS) It's one of the leading causes of death among children. Every year drowning kills nearly 1,000 children. Now the American Academy of Pediatrics has new recommendations on water safety to try to prevent these tragedies.
Three-year-old year old Ava Alincastre takes lessons at Goldfish Swim School each week.
"I really wanted them to just have a basic knowledge of like, what to do God forbid they ever fell in," said Rosalen Alincastre, Ava's mom.
Kids ages one to four are at the highest risk for drowning, and many deaths happen when children have unexpected access to water. Now the American Academy of Pediatrics is putting the spotlight on prevention.
"When a child is in and around water we need constant, attentive supervision -- touch supervision, which means they are within an arm's length of that child when they are in the water. When kids are not expected to be in the water that's when we need those barriers. That's the four-sided isolation fencing that separates the pool from the rest of the house and the yard," said Dr. Sarah Denny with Nationwide Children's Hospital.
The AAP stresses all children should learn to swim, and children and teens should wear life jackets when near water. Studies show that swim lessons starting around age one can reduce a child's risk of drowning. Experts say the lessons need to teach children basic water skills as well as water safety.
"Floating, grasping the wall, climbing in and out of the water turning back to the wall -- a lot of times children end up falling into the water and they look to the furthest point, and if they just turned around they would be better off," said Katie Lee with Goldfish Swim School.
After a year of swim lessons, Three-year-old Shane Goodrich's dad, Chris, says he's made a lot of progress. "He's comfortable in the water which is important," he said. "He's getting from one place to another, which he is now doing."
The new report also emphasizes that swimming is a family activity, so parents also need to know how to swim.
Teens are the second age group at highest risk of drowning because they can be over confident in their swimming abilities and sometimes alcohol can be involved.