Does your family love to go swimming or do water sports during the summer? Perhaps your family has a swimming pool or lives near a body of water. So have you ever thought about water safety when it comes to your kids? Yes, life jackets are highly recommended life-saving items for your child to wear, but what if you or they were to forget them? What if they accidentally fall in? Would your child know what to do? It's scary to think about! We may assume our children don't really need to know how to swim, but in this post we'll talk about why it's definitely something you should consider. I will also be sharing my personal experiences as a parent. Let's dive in!
Are You Serious About Water Safety?
Did you know, according to the CDC, fatal drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1-4 and the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children 5-14, behind motor vehicle crashes.
Learning how to swim is vital to your personal safety. This not only applies to children but for adults too because if you don't know how to swim, how are you going to save your child if the need arises?
If you think, my child knows how to swim good enough or that won't happen to my child, then you should definitely ask yourself these questions before being 100% confident in their swimming skills:
1. Can my child hold his or her breath underwater?
2. Can my child get in and out of a pool safely?
3. Can my child float on his or her back?
4. Can my child get from one side of the pool to the other?
5. Can my child get to shallow water when it's too deep?
6. Can my child tread water?
7. Can my child stay safe when in the water unexpectedly?
8. Does my child know what to do in a possible water emergency?
9. Does my child know when to wear a lifejacket?
10. Does my child know safety rules for being around water?
If you can't answer yes to all of these questions, your child has more to learn when it comes to water safety. Remember, it's always better to be safe than sorry with your kids.
Clair Evans, the Aquatics coordinator at the Walnut Creek Family YMCA in West Des Moines says, "Kids learning skills as simple as floating and treading water can save their lives. Even something as small as knowing how to blow bubbles underwater can prevent drowning."
Water safety can start even when your child is a baby. Show them with supervision how fun and comfortable water can be. Allow them to learn that it's nothing to be scared about. If they develop a fear of water, they will avoid it through their childhood and very well into their adulthood. That fear can also cause them to become very tense and more difficult to teach when you do give them swimming lessons.
What Are the Benefits of Swimming Lessons?
Swimming lessons come with a ton of benefits. Here are just a few:
- It keeps them safe when they're in or near water
- Helps kids safely develop muscle strength and heart health
- Being in water in naturally calming and reduces stress hormone, cortisol
- Increases their confidence
- Improved coordination and balance
Plus, it is fun! Here are a bunch more reasons your child will love swim lessons also!
When and How Do I Start Swimming Lessons for My Child?
Infants as young as 6 months can start learning to swim! Babies are naturally well-equipped for swimming, as the amniotic fluid has surrounded them in the womb for nine months. Due to their high fat content, they can easily float on their backs in the water.
Whichever age you decide to put them in (the younger the better) you can first start off with mommy and me classes, then group lessons, and then finally one-on-one lessons.
Swimming lessons are offered through specialized swim schools, which you may have in your community. They can also be offered through city recreation centers or your neighborhood pool.
Just make sure you research the class you choose. Ensure the instructors are certified through a nationally recognized learn-to-swim curriculum, that the lessons are age-appropriate, and that the water is clean and kept at a good temperature.
As they continue to learn and take classes, they will become more aware and adjust to the water and everything they can do in it. Creating a solid foundation is key! Swimming Lessons can assist with their self-rescuing skills but can also give them a sense of "I can do this!"
Remember that even with swimming lessons, your child is never 100% drown-proof. Besides teaching them how to swim, follow these other safety tips:
- Always supervise your child around bodies of water.
- Make sure your pool has a fence around so your child can't access it without your help.
- Use life jackets in rivers and lakes.
- Make sure your child knows they are never allowed near the water without a grown up.
My own family loves swimming! We try to do it as much as possible when it's warm outside or even at indoor pools when the weather is colder. We also go boating, so it was very important to me that my kids learned about water safety and knew how to swim.
My oldest child started swim lessons when he was almost 2 years old. He learned a lot in just a short amount of time; shortly after he turned 2 he could float on his back and turn over. I remember him missing a step at the shallow end and going into the pool head first. I was right next to him, but he immediately knew what to do without my help. It brought me so much peace of mind knowing he knew what to do and that he could keep himself safe. My other two kids have done swimming lessons as well and I can 1000% vouch for the importance of educating kids on water safety and teaching them how to swim!
The water doesn't have to be something scary for your child. Knowing about water safety can be truly lifesaving. According to BlueSwimSchool, "Kids who take formal swim lessons have an 88% less chance of drowning. They’re also more likely to establish a healthy relationship with exercise and fitness."
Even though summer is almost over, its never too early to prepare your children for the next swimming opportunity. It's something every parent should take seriously and we hope that in this blog post it was able to give you a nice push or a second thought about enrolling or educating your child!
Stay tuned as we share more helpful educational posts in the future!