Some of my best childhood memories are from summer vacations that I spent with my family on the water, either at the neighborhood public pool, on the lake or by the ocean. We tried them all and I loved every minute of it.
But along with summer weather comes more time by the water and more hazards for our little ones. I just finished up a 6 week course* with my kids teaching them how to save themselves, were they ever to fall into the water. We’re going to be spending our summer around deep water, my son is 3 and my daughter is 18 months, both are on the move, and this has increased my anxiety level just thinking about our summer vacation. This course taught them what to do if they are ever in an emergency situation. I have to say, I’m 100% impressed.
Neither child had ever really been exposed to the water beyond the bath tub and $9 kiddie pool on our back deck. My daughter (18 months) was taught how to surface to a back float and my son (3 years) was taught to swim for a few strokes, search for the wall of the pool, flip to a back float for a rest, flip back to a swim, float, swim until he reaches the pool wall. The last few lessons both were given the chance to test their skills fully clothed, including socks, shoes, long pants, a long sleeved shirt and a winter coat (as the likelihood of falling in the water in their bathing suit is pretty low).
It really was an amazing course, it’s a big time commitment and it wasn’t without a few tears (screams of objection) but in the end both LOVE the water and I’m far more confident in their respect of the water. But I do hope that they’ll never have to use the skills they’ve learned these past 6 weeks.
In 18 states, drowning ranks as the leading cause of accidental death among young children. More than 75% of victims had been missing for less than five minutes. More than half of all drowning tragedies occur during the summer months.
With that in mind, here are a few tips to keep your kids safe around the water:
1. Never swim alone; never let your child be alone near any body of water
2. Never let your child be supervised by an older sibling
3. Don’t let your supervision of your child be interrupted even for a second (phone calls etc)
4. Always wear a lifejacket in a boat
5. Teach your kids to swim
6. Take a CPR or water safety course yourself
Keep it safe this summer and have fun!
*The program is Infant Swimming Resource (ISR). Their website is www.infantswim.com