17 Jan 2015



Just before Christmas, I was approached by the lovely Kaitlin Gardner of An Apple a Day about guest posting on Craftypjmum. While I have never ventured into this realm before, I was more than happy to welcome Kaitlin to Craftypjmum.

Please pop over and take a look at Kaitlin's blog An Apple a Day .

Kaitlin has written a very informative post about the safety aspects of teaching our children to swim. It is an important message, and one that every parent needs to address......

What Safety Skills Are Taught During Swim Lessons? 

When my sons were nearing the age for swim lessons, I wasn’t sure what would be taught about safety in those classes. When in doubt – ask. I checked with a couple of supervisors for swim schools, and found out the basic safety elements that should be covered in swim lessons. Here’s what I learned.

The importance of safety. It’s just a fact that the water can be dangerous, and especially for small children. The highest rate of unintentional drowning is among children ages 1 to 4. It has also been reported that formal swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by as much as 88 percent. The first line of safety from swim lessons is to make sure they know how to swim. If a child knows basic swim strokes, they are much better prepared to stay safe in the water. In addition to the basic swim strokes, other safety skills are taught. Learning how to tread water can help a person stay safe in the water until help arrives. Safely using a diving board is an important aspect of the lessons as well. Once basic swim strokes are taught, later lessons can build on that foundation by refining the swim strokes and teaching additional swim methods like side stroke, breast stroke and back stroke.

Here are resources with more information.

Swimming Pool Safety: Layers of Protection

Why Is It Important to Know How To Swim?

Swimming and Water Safety

Safety rules. 

The next item for children to learn is that there are rules around the water. A good orientation will not only state the rule, but the logic behind it, so children will see why it is so important. These are some of the major rules covered:

Don’t run at the pool. Running on a wet surface is just asking for a slip and an accident.

Never swim alone. If something happens, there will be no one around to help.

Use the buddy system. A person is safer if someone else is watching out for them.

● Don’t use the diving board unless an adult is supervising. If an accident occurs on the diving board, it’s important to have an adult nearby.

● No rough play. A roughhousing session can lead to an accident.

● Always obey the lifeguard. The lifeguard is trying to keep you safe in the water.

Regular reinforcement. Just like in school, lessons aren’t a one time exposure to a swimming skill.
Later lessons build on what is learned in beginning lessons, requiring a child to show proficiency at skills before advancing to the next level. Increasing proficiency will be a part of the progression through swim classes. In the area of safety, regular discussion of safety rules, along with checks on comprehension, will assure that children understand the need for and importance of being safe around the water. When a child is given not only beginner lessons, but moves through to intermediate and advanced lessons, it gives them a more solid foundation in water safety. That translates to greater comfort and confidence around the water, which might help a child stay calm when most needed.

Lakes and oceans. There are special considerations when swimming in larger bodies of water, in addition to the rules which apply to a swimming pool. For instance, in the lake, don’t dive when you’re not sure how deep the water is. In the ocean, be aware of the effects of currents in the area where you are swimming. Swim class will have a discussion of these considerations.

With the proper grounding in safety, my boys will be able to confidently enjoy all the pleasures the water has to offer. As a parent, that makes me smile.

Kaitlin Gardner started An Apple Per Day to explore her passion for a green living lifestyle, and healthy family living. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they enjoy exploring the countryside to discover interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint watercolors.

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