Every summer you hear the horrific stories. You may even know a parent who has endured the worst possible nightmare.
According to a United States Consumer Product Safety Commission press release, “From Memorial Day through Labor Day 2018, at least 148 children younger than age 15 fatally drowned in swimming pools or spas.”
The World Health Organization states, “Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in children aged 1–14 years.”
Organizations like the American Red Cross and the YMCA are committed to teaching children to swim and to respect the water. There are myriad options for teaching children to swim. The consensus being that a formal class is typically the best way for children to find the confidence and develop the skills which they need to be safe and learn to embrace the benefits of swimming; as early as six months of age.*
Private lessons can of course be expensive, while Mommy/Daddy and Me courses can offer the best of both worlds as the parent may be in the water with their child in an instructor-led environment.
Infant Swimming Resource (ISR) is an organization that offers one-on-one swimming lessons for infants and children. They believe that although pool owners may leverage the best technology with sensor alarms and motion-sensitive cameras and all manner of fencing to comply with local ordinances, “ISR’s core conviction is that the child is the most important part of a drowning prevention strategy. Children are curious, capable, and have an uncanny ability to overcome obstacles like pool fences. At ISR we take that ability and teach them skills to potentially save themselves if they find themselves in the water alone.”
Teaching Children to Swim
These fascinating little creatures are born fearless. Have you ever stood on a ski slope just managing to stay upright when a five-year-old whizzes by you? With no thoughts of compound fractures or missing days at work, the sheer exhilaration of the downhill trip is what’s on her mind.
What about learning a language? Three-year-olds can grasp and learn words in a language not native to the household. Probably because they have not yet learned the fear of failure which adults can acquire.
This is interesting because some swim experts believe that children benefit from learning to swim from a professional. Sometimes a parent’s natural anxiety about their child’s safety may be transferred to the child. When the child is taught by someone who knows how to teach but does not have an emotional connection, it can give the child the support they need to become a strong swimmer.
How to Be Water Competent
We’re uncertain if the American Red Cross coined the term “water competent,” but it is the phrase they use to put a secure circle around all the elements that go into water safety. Knowing how to swim yourself is certainly important, but a broader knowledge makes for a safer family.
“Water competency is a way of improving water safety for yourself and those around you through avoiding common dangers, developing fundamental water safety skills to make you safer in and around the water, and knowing how to prevent and respond to drowning emergencies. Water competency has 3 main components: water smarts, swimming skills and helping others.”
When you read this kind of precautions list, the caveats may sound like common sense, but taking the time to absorb their significance will help you set the stage for water safety while leading by example.
Teaching your children that they should never swim alone and know how to call for help and that they should know their limitations are three of the most essential rules of water smarts.
Swimming Safety Tips
Having a backyard pool or enjoying a day of sun and sand at the beach is one of life’s simple pleasures. There’s a natural community when people come together to relax with the water’s therapeutic qualities.
But safety must always come first. Here are some top tips from The American Red Cross:
- Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
- Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
- Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
- Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
- Maintain constant supervision.
- Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and learn-to-swim courses.
- If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers. Many children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time.
- Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
- If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
- Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
- Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
- Enroll in Red Cross home pool safety, water safety, first aid and CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies.
Confident Children. Self-Assured Adults.
Your child has a lifetime of learning ahead. When they acquire a skill such as swimming at a young age, they discover the satisfaction of achievement as they progress through their lessons. What you get out of it is a little peace of mind and plenty of photo ops of their little faces beaming!
Lyon Financial loves the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about how you can install the backyard pool of your dreams at a price you can afford.
*Lyon Financial is not a pool safety or instruction organization. We refer you to the experts mentioned above for your swimming lesson needs.