Want to make sure kids pay attention to water safety talks? Enlist the help of a water-skiing squirrel. The technique seems to be effective.

Lou Ann Best has been touring with Twiggy, her water-skiing squirrel, for nearly 40 years. The pair performs at waterparks and public shows and events to teach children about the importance of learning how to swim and wearing a lifejacket. Twiggy puts on her squirrel-sized lifejacket and hops on her tiny water skis to do a few laps around the pool for spectators. While children and adults are captivated by the water-sporting squirrel, Best takes the opportunity to call their attention to why knowing how to swim and being safe during water activities is crucial. She even does a quick lesson in shallow water on how to float, then lets kids try for themselves.

“I’m doing the talking, but that’s the magic -- they hear twiggy,” says Lou Ann Best. “My goal is to make Twiggy the Smokey the Bear of water sports.”

According to Best, children often approach her after the show to express their excitement over learning to swim just like Twiggy. (For a video of Twiggy demonstrating her water skiing abilities, click on the "Read more" link.)

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