Promote Better Pool Safety With Swim Lessons

by Kaitlin Gardner from AnApplePerDay.com

lesson-of-swimmingI love raising my young boys, and watching them grow, but it’s kept me busy. High on my “to do” list has been water safety, to make sure they have fun but stay safe in the pool. One of the biggest safety measures for us has been swim lessons. Knowing how to swim is a skill they’ll use for a lifetime, so I want them to be well prepared.

The need for safety. The reality is that there are inherent risks around the water. Drowning has been reported as one of the highest causes of unintentional deaths among small children in the U.S. Another study has also shown that swim lessons can reduce the chances of a child drowning by as much as 88 percent. When I read those articles, it only strengthened my resolve to have my boys learn to swim, and be well prepared when it came to the pool. Here are some other articles with more great information:

Preparation starts early. It is suggested that a baby can be enrolled in Mommy and Me classes as early as 6 months of age. While these are not formal lessons, they will certainly give the child an orientation to the water, as well as being a lot of fun. I even used bath time to begin reinforcing the water as a fun place to be. I would trickle water over my child’s head, and we spent a lot of time laughing and smiling as they discovered the fun of splashing.

The beginning lessons. By around age 4, a child will be developed enough to have motor skills that will allow them to take lessons. My boys were so in love with the water that they were glad to take those lessons. They began to learn the movements that would combine into swim strokes, and to learn the basics of swim safety. They were really serious when the instructor explained why “no running at the pool” was important. I had to smile because I knew if I tried to tell them the same thing they wouldn’t listen that well. At the end of the pool season, parents can check out their kids to make sure they are “water smart,” meaning how well have they incorporated the safety principles they have learned, like being able to find the side of the pool if they fell into the water, and what to do if a friend was struggling in the water. My boys did great, and I was really pleased by how quickly they picked up a focus on safety.

Repetition helps. I plan to sign my boys up for intermediate and advanced lessons. I want them to really learn the strokes, and be well versed in the safety aspects of swimming. In school they don’t just show kids a concept once and move on, the classes work through a progression which allows kids to build proficiency. With something as important as swimming, I think the same principle should hold, so I will continue with lessons.

Use the time for bonding. I won’t have an unlimited number of opportunities to bond with my children, so I have taken advantage of lessons to spend time with the kids. I sit on the sidelines and watch their lessons, and then may have a couple of questions about what they learned after class, to reinforce what they’re being taught. But when I get to see the first time they jump off the diving board or a similar achievement, it is just wonderful to see how excited they get.

Watching my boys swimming confidently really pleases me – their swim lessons have prepared them well to enjoy all the fun they can have in the water.

KaitlinKaitlin Gardner started An Apple Per Day to explore her passion for a green living lifestyle, and healthy family living. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they enjoy exploring the countryside to discover interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint watercolors.

 

US Swim School Association Helps Parents Detect If Their Kids Are Water Smart

Guidelines to evaluate if kids know the basic water safety skills after a summer in the pool

boy-in-swimming-poolDrowning is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. On average, 3,533 people die as a result of drowning each year, and most of those deaths are children under the age of four who drown in backyard swimming pools. The tragedy of these statistics is nearly all drowning deaths are preventable. Parents need to be aware of their children’s swimming capabilities as well as their knowledge of how to be safe around water.

To help parents determine if their children are knowledgeable of basic water safety skills, USSSA has created a basic safety guideline parents can use to evaluate their children at the end of the summer pool season. USSSA also reminds parents that enrolling their children in year-round swimming lessons is one of the first defenses in drowning prevention. Even if children can complete the following tasks, year-round lessons can help children maintain their swimming skills and build strength.

  • Flip and Float. Any time a child enters a body of water unexpectedly, he or she should know to first reach the surface then flip onto his or her back and float until help arrives.
  • Find the Side. If your child accidentally falls into a pool he or she should know how to swim to the side, and either pull them self out of the water or move along the wall to the stairs where they can safely exit.
  • Do a Clothes Test. Children might be successful swimmers in their goggles and swimsuit but if you have a backyard pool there could be a situation where your child falls into the pool fully clothed. To help your children know how to react and judge their skill level in a situation like this effectively, under your supervision, have them jump into the pool with clothes on and swim to the side.
  • Throw, Don’t Go. When asked what they would do if a friend or sibling is struggling in the water, children should know to not enter the water. Instead, they should look for a device that can reach into the water such as a pool noodle, a foam ring or even a large stick the struggling person can grab and hold onto while being pulled to safety.
  • Take a lap. If you have a backyard pool it is a good idea to test your child at the end of the summer to make sure your child can swim a full lap of the pool. This will inform you if your child can swim far enough to reach the side or a step to exit the pool no matter where he or she falls in.

For more information on USSSA, details on becoming a member of the nation’s leading swim school organization, or to find a USSSA affiliated swim school near you, visit: http://www.usswimschools.org

 

About US Swim School Association: US Swim School Association (USSSA) began in 1988 to fill a gap in the swim school industry. USSSA has become the largest and preeminent swim school association in the country with over 400 members providing swim and water safety instruction to over 500,000 students each year. Swim schools receive invaluable benefits as USSSA members, receiving the latest training in water safety, swim instruction methods and tools, invitations to annual conferences, and many other benefits that help establish and build each individual business. USSSA has partnered with Safer 3 Water Safety Foundation for its official water safety program. Through USSSA, parents and students are provided with a reliable and trustworthy resource when searching for a swim school and can rest assured they have chosen a top school when they choose a USSSA affiliated location. For more information, visit www.usswimschools.org.

 

Four Tips Before Diving In For The First Swim Lesson

by Nicole Fonovich, co-creator of the “Luca Lashes” app/ebook series

LL has his First Swimming Lesson_Book CoverTaking your child to a swimming pool to learn to swim is a fairly common experience for parents. Getting a child comfortable in the water can give a child confidence to handle a lot of new experiences. Here are a few tips to help make a toddler’s first pool experience a happy one for you and for them!

1. Getting ready!

Many toddlers are not potty-trained, or just learning how to go the toilet. To be on the safe side, until your toddler is completely toilet-trained, use a swimmer diaper underneath the swimsuit, so that you keep the pool as clean as possible. Also, it is important to have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device that fits properly. Toddlers should wear these any time they are near water until both they and you are comfortable with their ability to swim.

2. Is there tech support?

Luca Lashes and his First Swimming Lesson is a great eBook/app that can walk a child through their first time in the pool! Children can get the look and feel of the pool, take a shower before getting in the pool, and have a lesson with a swim instructor. Luca and his daddy have fun in the water, and your child can join in!

3. Follow the Rules.

Every public pool has a specific set of rules. These can include “No Running,” “No Splashing,” etc. Be sure to follow these rules yourself, and teach your child how important rules and safety are in the pool area. The pool rules are there for the safety of every one involved, and should be read and paid attention to by every parent!

4. Be Safe.

Parents need to teach their toddlers that never go into the water without an adult, and parents also need to practice “touch supervision.” This means that an adult should be within arm’s reach of a toddler at all times near a pool or any body of water. For particularly early swimmers who are being carried by their parents in water, parents need to stay at a comfortable depth where a firm footing can always be maintained.

Remember to always ask your children both how they feel about the swimming pool both before and after their time in the water. This is a great time to have a “teachable” moment with your little ones! Laugh with your children; enjoy these moments, as some of the happiest times in a person’s life involve being in a pool!

 

Nicole & Damir Fonovich are co-creators of Luca Lashes,” an eBook and app series that turns “fear of firsts” into fun. The series is aimed at kids ages 0–4 and is available in English, French, Italian, Spanish, and Chinese. The first app, Luca Lashes: The Brown Eyed Boy with the Magic Eyelashes, is free on iTunes, and the other apps can be downloaded for $1.99 at all major marketplaces and at www.LucaLashes.com.Nicole and Damir both have backgrounds in teaching, writing and publishing. Together, they have 17 years of experience in the education field, in both teaching and administration. They live in the Phoenix area.

Tips For Teaching Toddlers To Swim

teaching kids/babies/toddlers to swimTips For Teaching Toddlers To Swim

Swimming Educator Reveals Kids Can Survive

Rita Goldberg can’t believe some people still teach kids to swim by proverbially throwing them in the water to see if they sink or swim instinctively.

“Many parents and even some traumatic swim programs still use that ancient and ridiculous method of introducing children to swimming by throwing them into the water without any knowledge about swimming whatsoever – and all they are doing is teaching their children how to be terrified of the water,” said Goldberg, a former national swimmer in Great Britain, owner of a swimming school and author of the children’s book I Love to Swim (www.ilovetoswimthebook.com). “These advocates claim they are teaching survival, but I believe teaching survival can be – and should be – gentle and fun.”

Goldberg’s lament is that too many children drown needlessly every year, and too many parents are either resistant to teaching their toddlers to swim, or teach them the wrong way.

“No child, and I mean no child, has to ever drown in a swimming pool again if they are taught how to survive in the water the right way and at the earliest possible age,” she added. “Drowning is actually the second leading cause of accidental death in the country. It is leading in Florida and a few other states, and the real tragedy is that most every child who drowns could have been saved by simply being taught to swim correctly. Traumatizing them only teaches them to fear the water, and who among us makes the best choices, or can even process calm thought, when we are afraid? Children are no different. They need to be given the tools to survival and draw their confidence in the water from that knowledge. We want kids to respect the water, not fear it.”

Goldberg’s tips for teaching kids to swim include:

  • Start Young — New studies show that the best age to teach a child to swim is between the ages of six and twelve months. Just as parents are learning this is a good time to teach children how to read, they are beginning to understand this is a time when children are able to absorb information like sponges. Teaching them to swim at this early age is a great way to make swimming second nature to them.
  • Float to Survive – As a supplement to safeguarding your kids through extra vigilant supervision and a safety gate around the pool, focus on giving your child the best lifesaving tool you could offer them – the ability to survive in the water. The first gift I give children when I teach them is the ability to float on their backs. This is the most important survival skill of all. This enables all swimmers to rest, breathe and call for help, thus alleviating the “silent” danger of floating face down.
  • Gentle and Fun – Swimming will come more naturally to children who are taught gently, without trauma, and with a sense of fun. You cannot teach a 2-year-old not to go near the swimming pool. You cannot teach them that the pool is dangerous. Parents see the swimming pool as a potential death trap for their kids, but all kids see is a big, wet playground. You’re not going to change their opinion, so stop trying. Focus on calm, gentle fun, and your kids will take to their lessons like fish to water.

“Parents need to understand that playing in a swimming pool is the same as playing on dry land to children,” she added. “It’s all play to them. While it’s important for them to feel confident in the water, we need to help temper that confidence with a strong sense of safety and good judgment. Adhering to those rules as parents will serve to reinforce those rules, however, the best way to pull it all together is to start them young. Once both swimming and safety are second nature to them, they’ll be safer and your supervision of them in the water will be more fun for everyone.