5 Dangerous Myths About Kids and Water Safety
Pool Safety, Texas Swim Academy Programs
We wanted to share another great article from the swimming world by Kristina Sauerwein on babycenter.com. She delves into the seriously dangerous assumptions we as a society make about our kids and water safety. This is a great read, and we highly suggest you share it with anyone you know who has kids.
Out of the blue, I still get these heart-racing, tummy-churning images in my head of last summer when my son Ryan, then 3, started to drown. It happened in an instant, at our nice community pool with lots of nice people around. I cannot forget the eery silence, how Ryan’s sinking was quiet, there were no loud splashes or shouts like I would have thought. Had I not glanced overâ€¦well, it’s those what-ifs that still make sick.
Yes, we’ll be at the pool and the lake almost every day this summer. After Ryan’s drowning incident, we returned to the same pool a few days after. Learning to swim is a life skill everyone needs, and with summer almost here, I consulted a swim coach for water safety tips.
Coach Ruthie Zarren owns Little Fishes Swim School in St. Louis, Missouri, where my kids will take lessons this summer. She is adamant in her belief that swim lessons should begin as early as 6 months. She gives tips here for developing your child’s comfort and confidence in the water.
Additionally, Coach Ruthie, also a mom, dispels 5 common water myths that can put kids in danger:
1) Myth: My child swims like a fish with her floaties on.
Truth: Swimming with floaties is not swimming.
Swimming is the ability to self-propel in the water without assistance. In fact, the American Red Cross defines independent swimming as the ability to travel 500 yards-or the length of five football fields-using any combination of strokes, and to tread water without a floatation device. Floaties do not help new swimmers gain these life-saving skills.
2) Myth: Dog-paddling gets my child where he needs to go.
Truth: Dog-paddling is not swimming.
When children swim with their heads out of the water, their feet drop down, creating drag and slowing their progress. Hands and feet remain in constant motion to prevent sinking. Dog-paddlers tire easily, and can become panicked by fatigue, splashing and accidental submersion if they stop moving. Also, lifeguards expect parents in close proximity when children are dog-paddling. When a child demonstrates real swimming, such as freestyle or breast stroke, the stroke mechanics provide time for exertion and recovery, allowing the swimmer to move easily and with endurance.
3) Myth: My child loves the water. Just don’t get her face wet!
Truth: Children who are not comfortable putting their faces in the water do not love water.
Reluctance to put the face in the water indicates fear or hesitation. Floatation devices perpetuate this fear by making it easier to keep their head above the surface. Not until children are comfortable becoming fully submerged will they ever be truly comfortable and confident in water. Studies show that children who know how to submerge are safer in and around water. They stay calmer under water, and find more recovery strategies should they fall in. Good swim lessons teach submersion techniques to children as young as six months old. They younger a child is exposed, the faster and easier it is for going underwater to become second nature. Older children can overcome their fear and discomfort for submersion with patience and proper coaching.
4) Myth: She’s safe in the pool as long as she has swim ring.
Truth: Most floatation devices are considered toys and not lifesaving devices.
Just read the packaging of any swim aid and you’ll find the words NOT A LIFESAVING DEVICE. Only U.S. Coast Guard-approved floatation devices prevent drowning since they are specifically designed to prevent submersion. Unfortunately, these do not help children test their mobility and breath control, and many exploring children can remove them. Adults must be vigilant watchers of children wearing floatation devices. They should be used as a supplement to swim lessons or supervised water exploration so children do not develop a dependence on them or gain the false notion that they know how to swim.
5) Myth: Just give her a few summers and she’ll get the hang of it.
Truth: Year-round swim lessons promote water safety and lifetime swim skills.
Swimming is not just for summer. Numerous indoor pools and water parks make swimming a year-round option for recreation, birthday parties, field trips and more. Unstructured seasonal exposure to water can look like progress at first, but often reinforce bad habits. Regression is common among young children that swim only seasonally, so the idea that children will pick up where they left off is not realistic. Children need regular guided practice to learn swimming, and swimming-skill milestones are achieved along with physical and cognitive growth.
Are you a confident swimmer? Is your child?
SWIM SCHOOL IN KATY
Texas Swim Academy is the best swim school near me offering result-oriented swimming lessons in Katy that cater to all ages and abilities. Our well-trained and experienced swimming instructors provide a variety of programs for infants through adulthood. For the little ones, we offer swimming lessons for babies and swimming lessons for toddlers focused on survival swimming skills to build a strong water safety foundation and foster water confidence at a young age. Once your child knows how to swim, our swim lessons for children will help refine techniques and build endurance, as the consistent practice of their swimming skills is an imperative part of becoming a strong swimmer.
Our adaptive aquatics program is designed for children of all ages and abilities to ensure every child, including children on the autism spectrum, can benefit from these fundamental skills and enjoy the water in a safe and comfortable environment. Adults seeking to improve their swimming prowess or learn how to swim for the first time can enroll in adult swim lessons tailored to their specific goals.
Our swim lessons near me are a convenient and accessible way for you and your family to learn how to swim in a comfortable environment. Our dedicated instructors are passionate about teaching and ensuring your progress in the water. Take a few minutes to view Our Swimmer Stories to learn more about what other families are saying about their experience with Texas Swim Academy.
Contact us to learn more about our programs or stop by our state-of-the-art swimming facility in Katy to register today. Be sure to follow our Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages for important news, updates, and swimming safety tips, and read our blog to keep up-to-date with important information on water safety and proper swimming lessons.