BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Temperatures are rising, which means it won’t be long before pools start opening for the summer. 

But along with the fun, come the dangers associated with water.

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Between 2016 and 2021, six children living in Baltimore died by drowning. Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital is hoping to avoid similar tragedies by holding a swim safety program. 

Da’Mariah Cole’s 5-year-old daughter is one of the children who went through the free six-week program.

“I feel much more confident as a parent knowing my child has the ability to be in the water,” Cole said. “She can swim and she can have fun in the water.” 

Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital, Callow Hill Aquatic Center staff, and Pikesville High School students put together the water safety program. 

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Their goal was to reduce injuries that may occur in and around the water by teaching kids the basics of swimming, water safety, and how to stay safe on the pool deck. 

Pikesville High student and lifeguard Ellie Hanover started the program.

“Some of these kids have never been in the water so it was really important to give them that opportunity and the resources to swim just like a lot of other people,” Hanover said. “All of these kids have made such an improvement from the start of the program to now, it’s really amazing to see all of their progress.”

They hope this experience gives all parents peace of mind as they head into summer. 

“It’s just a wonderful overall opportunity and I’m very grateful as a parent,” Cole said.

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This was the first year the water safety program was implemented. Participants hope to continue it in the future. 

Sean Streicher