A Florida toddler had swim lessons to thank for averting disaster in his backyard pool. Two-year-old Kyle Siegel saved himself from drowning after falling fully clothed into the water this April.
He used the rollback-to-float technique he learned from the owner of Infant Swimming Resource Swim School, Instructor Toni Ann Capanelli. It’s a swimming survival technique taught to babies.
Kyle's mother, Traci Siegel, said their home is undergoing renovations, and the pool fence had been removed.
When Kyle’s older brother left the door open that lead to the pool, Kyle went out the door.
'We saw Kyle float to the top, roll on his back and swim to the edge of the pool and get out, himself fully clothed,” said Siegel.
Capanelli, a certified infant resource instructor, taught hundreds of babies to swim and float at her swim school in Royal Palm Beach, Florida.
'We teach lessons through sensory motor and through water levels in the water and through touch,” said Capanelli.
Because of Covid-19, it’s been a year since Kyle has had consistent swim lessons. His mother had just started bringing him back for refresher classes. Kyle had returned for four lessons since being under quarantine.
Capanelli said it takes repetition and commitment from everyone involved for the lessons to be effective.
“It's about a year's lapse, and he still maintained the skills he was taught the year prior,' Capanelli said.
According to Capanelli, learning to swim is essential for young children.
'Being as though Florida is covered in water and man-made lakes, pools and beaches, these skills are essential. It’s the leading cause of death for kids ages 4 and under,' Capanelli said.
Following the incident, Kyle was excited to attend his first swim class at Infant Swimming Resource Swim School. His mother was emotional at the lesson.
'I don’t know what could’ve happened. That’s when I get emotional. If we hadn’t heard the splash and he hadn’t had the swim lessons. I don’t know if he’d be here,' Siegel said.