- Posted by Jenna
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There are many steps we, as parents, take before and while raising our little ones to ensure their safety. We adhere to recommended nutritional guidelines. We diligently follow instructions about the proper installation of infant and booster seats. We take them to the doctor and dentist regularly for their health and well-being.
What is sadly often left off of this list is teaching our infants and toddlers about how to be safe in and around the water.
Drowning remains the leading accidental cause of death in the United States for children aged 1 to 4. Despite this glaring and perpetual statistic, the American Academy of Pediatrics continued to overlook the importance of teaching the youngest and most vulnerable among us how to swim and float until recently when they changed their stance on the age in which children are ready for swimming lessons to around 1 years old thanks to dedicated advocates like Jenny Bennett.
Jenny, a Tomball resident, and her family tragically lost their 18 month old son and brother, Jackson, in 2016 due to an accidental drowning. Having moved from Colorado to a home in Texas with an outdoor pool, they understood that measures would need to be taken to keep their toddler safe. This included adding a lockable dog door and taking their son to “parent and me” swimming classes.
A False Sense of Security
The Bennett’s had one understandable goal when attending swimming lessons with their toddler. They wanted Jackson to feel comfortable in the water. The lessons achieved just that as their son, outfitted in a puddle jumper, regularly splashed and played in the pool alongside his two older sisters that summer.
What should have been a time of fond and beloved memories took a tragic turn for the Bennet family one evening that July. When it was discovered that Jackson wasn’t upstairs playing with his sisters like they thought, Jenny raced out toward the pool only to find the youngest member of her family face down in the water.
Being an emergency room nurse, Jenny immediately took live saving measures on her lifeless son, and he was soon transported to the hospital by ambulance. Despite all efforts, including life support, Jackson was declared brain dead days after the horrible event, and the family made the decision to donate his viable organs.
Jenny acknowledges that no one can know why her son jumped into the pool. He may have been reaching for a toy, though the Bennett’s strongly suspect that it was Jackson’s false sense of confidence in the water, due to his use of a puddle jumper, which resulted in him taking a leap into the pool which he understood to be a fun, exciting and safe place to be.
“We thought these parent-child swimming lessons would set [Jackson] up to be safe in the water and to help him be comfortable,” Jenny says. “But it turns out that it probably gave him a false sense of security and confidence in the water when he wasn’t able to rescue himself.”
Puddle jumpers have long been criticized for giving children a false sense of security when in the pool. Doors, gates and windows – as much as we parents and caregivers try to stay vigilant in keeping them closed and locked – can also be overlooked and accessible for curious and determined children.
Survival Lessons Critical for the Safety and Development of Children
Confidence in the water is only part of what children need to know when being in and around water. Knowing how to survive in an emergency situation should and must be a priority.
There are many misconceptions about what survival swimming is about. Parents fear that their child may be unnecessarily put in a dangerous position and that the lessons will do more harm than good.
Survival swim lessons are safe and enjoyable for infants and toddlers. After being gently introduced to the water, your child’s instructor will guide your little one through a series of steps which teach the child how to roll from their front to their back and float. Children feel calm in the water, they are able to regulate their breathing, and they are able to remain safe until help arrives.
Parents Preventing Childhood Drowning is one of the leading organizations who are working hard on dispelling the many myths surrounding infant survival swimming while raising awareness about drowning and water safety. Jenny Bennett is one of the many parents who have joined the cause in hopes that childhood drowning can be eradicated for good. For more information on this worthy and important organization, we encourage you to visit their site.
To learn more about survival swimming and to register your infant or toddler for survival swimming lessons in the Greater Houston area, please contact Texas Swim Academy at (832) 437-6186.
SWIM SCHOOL IN KATY
Texas Swim Academy is a state-of-the-art swimming facility offering water safety, survival swim, and kids swimming lessons in Katy, Texas. Owners Kathleen and Bruce McMordie, alongside our certified staff, help parents introduce children to water at an early age through the Infant Survival Swim Program , teaching life-saving techniques and basic swimming skills.
Our Stroke Development Program offers six different levels to help students progress in their swimming skills at his or her own pace. Our Adaptive Aquatics Program was created specifically for children with special abilities. Find swimming class registration information here. By subscribing to Texas Swim Academy’s blog , you can stay current on valuable water safety resources such as survival swim, health and wellness, Texas Swim Academy news and more. Follow our Facebook , Twitter, and YouTube pages for even more news, updates, and tips!