"Don't jump in until you learn to swim" was one of the key messages Stewie the Duck and the Norwalk Police Department shared with kids during Water Safety Day at Calf Pasture Beach on Sunday.
"A big holiday weekend is still upon us with Labor Day and we imagine that it will be a big water event weekend, so any information we can get out to the public and safety information we can provide is always timely regardless of when it is during the summertime," said Sergeant Terry Blake of the Norwalk Police Department.
Stew Leonard III Children's Charities was one of the partners of the event, bringing Stewie the Duck along to read Stewie the Ducks Learns to Swim and to teach kids and their parents important water safety tips.
Doreen Miner, Director of the Stew Leonard III Children's Charities said, "Kim and Stew are the founders of our foundation. About 25 years ago, they had a child pass away in a drowning incident and they have put their heart and soul into water safety since then. We have provided swimming lessons down here at the Norwalk beaches this year and 192 kids just graduated. We are really proud of that and more and more children are learning how to swim and that is our mission."
"It needs to be said over and over again so that it's second nature that kids will put their life jackets on. But we've seen kids here today riding their bicycles and they didn't have bicycle helmets on. We need to get the word out there and educate people and just teach them more," said Mark Blake, Director of Safe Kids Fairfield County.
The city's Recreation and Parks Department says kids aren't the only ones who need to learn how to swim.
"A number of years ago I used to work at Norwalk High School as the pool aid," said Pam Raila, Aquatics Director for the Recreation and Parks Department. "and it was surprising how many high school kids had no idea how to swim. We used to offer swim as a P.E. class but now they do not offer that anymore and there are kids growing up and they don't have any opportunity to learn how to swim in their community so we do provide that opportunity for them."
Fore more information about Stew Leonard's Children's Charities, visit www.stewietheduck.com. You can also find them in the iPhone app store by searching "Stewie the Duck."