Summer is often the time when families venture into the great outdoors for day trips or longer camping excursions. General water safety rules apply around natural bodies of water like lakes, rivers and oceans, but there are also specific rules that should be followed to ensure that your time in nature is without mishap.
Jumping into the Deep End of Life: Swim lessons as a way to maximize childhood development
Mommy blogs, dad blogs, parent blogs, parent boards on Pinterest, books, seminars, workshops – everywhere you turn, resources for being the best parent you can possibly be are vying for your attention. They offer help and encouragement to create a super kid who will handle every challenge with grace and ease. But, asks that little voice in your head, what if you take the wrong advice? What if you don’t follow enough advice? What if you don’t participate in enough activities or the right activities?
For many people, summer equals freedom: school breaks, family vacations and more outdoor time – especially at the beach or a pool. May is National Drowning Prevention Month and there’s no better time for a refresher on water safety.
Under controlled circumstances, like Swimtastic classes and events, instructors are fully trained in water safety and provide pool safety guidelines to students and participants. Eager to learn and eager to please, students are happy to comply with the rules that ensure their experience is enjoyable. But the loose, less-restrictive nature of vacations and pool parties can mean that children (and even adults) temporarily forget water safety basics.
For a joyful summer that includes time at the beach or a pool, review these water safety guidelines with your children, loved ones, babysitters and caregivers:
- Make sure everyone knows how to swim. Formal swimming lessons offer a two-pronged approach to reducing the risk of drowning. The first, of course, is teaching students how to stay afloat. But even more important is the formalized presentation of water safety. In addition to making sure children know how to swim, make sure adults who supervise children near water also know how to swim.
- Don’t swim alone. Even the best swimmers are at the mercy of water conditions or sudden health issues that can lead to drowning. Think of swimming as a social activity; whenever possible, swim with a buddy.
- Never leave a child unattended in or near water. Even if a lifeguard is present, it’s important to always be aware of your child’s location. Drowning is quick and silent and is not always preceded by a visible struggle in the water. A child can drown in a matter of seconds. Likewise, a child can drown in any depth of water, even the shallowest stream or even a bathtub.
- Keep within arm’s length of an infant or toddler. Touch supervision is always necessary with infants and toddlers. Make sure you are always close enough to touch curious crawlers and wobbly walkers whenever they’re near water.
- Divide and conquer water supervision duties. Rather than fight the urge to check your phone, enjoy a summer read or prepare a meal, organize 15-minute “water watcher” duties. Parents aren’t completely off the hook when children are near or in water, but a designated water watcher takes some of the pressure off you. The water watcher’s only duties are to know how many children are near or in the water and to repeatedly count heads. Keeping the water watcher shifts at 15 minutes means fresh eyes will always be on duty. Like a designated driver, a water watcher should be a sober adult who knows how to swim.
- Flotation devices are not water watchers. Floaties, water rings and even U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets are not substitutes for human supervision. Drowning can still occur when a child is wearing a flotation device. Children are often introduced to these devices as a way to build water confidence so they may feel empowered to take additional risks in the water while wearing them.
- Never leave your child in an environment with unprotected access to water. It may not be a conversation you’ll enjoy, but if your child is invited to a pool party or to the beach with friends, you need to ask the host about water supervision and safety hazards. If you have a pool or spa, instruct your babysitter about water supervision or restrict water access while you’re gone.
- Keep a charged phone with you. Don’t assume someone else at the pool or the beach can call for help in an emergency. If you’re worried about your phone getting lost, stolen or falling in the water, investigate clever storage options related to all three of those issues.
- Discourage risky water behavior. Nobody wants to be the parent who constantly yells, “No running near the pool!” or “Stop dunking your brother!” But roughhousing and other risky behavior often result in injury or drowning. Discouraging or correcting this behavior can help save a life.
For many people, summer isn’t summer without time at the beach or poolside. By taking water safety seriously, you can ensure that every water experience is happy and fun!
Whether you are a beginning swimmer, have a child that's learning to swim, or have been swimming for years, finding an ideal pair of goggles can be somewhat challenging. The last thing a swimmer wants to deal with is water leaking into their eyes - especially if they are just learning how to swim! Options for goggles are endless, and depending on whether you are swimming for leisure purposes, competitively, indoors or outdoors can impact what style may be best for you. While you will want to take all of that into consideration when picking out a pair of goggles, we would like to provide some key things to look for to ensure that the pair of goggles you purchase will fit properly.
When finding the right fitting goggle, it is important to understand the different parts. The first and main piece would be the eye piece. You want to make sure it is sized appropriately to fit around the eye. If it is too big, water will leak through the areas where it doesn't fit snug against the face. If the eye piece is too small, it will push on the eye and cause bulging, leading to an uncomfortable experience. Another option for the eye piece is adding a tint of color. A darker tinted pair of goggles will work indoors and outdoors, although they won’t block out the sun as well as a mirrored tint. A lightly tinted or clear eye piece will be better in low light situations, ideal for a dim indoor pool. However, note that not all colored lenses have UV protection. Parents often ask if the colored lenses bother children. I have never heard a child complain about colored lenses or say they can’t see.
The nose piece holds the two eye pieces together and can be adjustable or non-adjustable. If you are adjusting the nose piece for a small child, make sure to adjust it first and then try the goggles on the child. Sometimes, when the nose piece is adjusted smaller, the extra length can irritate the skin and get into the way of the eye piece suction. However, a solid nose piece can make the eye pieces too far apart and the goggles won’t suction correctly to the eyes, causing water to leak in.
Goggles come with different types of straps, with the most popular being one strap that splits in the back. Goggles with just one strap tend to put a lot of pressure in one spot and can eventually cause pain. Two straps or straps that are split tend to stay in place better when you put one strap higher than the other; this also gives swimmers with longer hair a place to put a pony tail. Straps should always be placed at eye level or above. You also want to look at how thick the straps are to get an idea of how long they will last. Since the straps get tugged and pulled on a lot, a thinner strap will most likely break first. Lastly, there are different ways to adjust the goggle straps; some pairs have adjustments in the back, on the side, and others are on the eye piece. The best adjustment is going to be based on who is wearing them. For example, longer hair may get tangled with a plastic piece on the side or the back of the strap. Also, if the goggles adjust by pulling the straps, you will want to look at how long the plastic piece can withstand the pressure.
So, when looking at goggles the options are endless! What you are looking for is based on the individual and personal preference. Things to keep in mind are the size and shape of the eye pieces, color of the lenses, and if they offer UV protection. You also want to check if the nose piece is adjustable, what the straps are like, and how they adjust.
Swimtastic Topic Expert: Ashley Bossell, Swimtastic of the Fox Cities, WI
Susan Wainscott, Founder and CEO completes her discussion on teacher retention at Swimtastic and the benefits for children learning to swim
Susan Wainscott, Founder and CEO, starts a series on teacher retention at Swimtastic Swim School
Did you know children can start swim lessons as young as six months old? In fact, this is the perfect time to introduce your little ones to the water. There are quite a few advantages to begin swimming before a child even learns to crawl. These include:
One thing that most children don’t realize, that parents can take comfort in knowing, is that swimming is great for their children’s health. While their little ones are enjoying time in the pool, they are also performing an act that has numerous health benefits. The same goes for adults as well. Swimming is often regarded as one of the best exercises for the entire body. Here are some of the reasons why:
Swim lessons are about more than learning strokes and techniques; they are also about learning how to be safer in and around the water. Parents, it is very important that the water safety rules learned in class be reinforced at home. The following are key water safety tips your children will learn throughout swim lessons: