Summer is just around the corner, and it’s important to prepare in more ways than one. Swimming is an activity that nearly every kid enjoys in summer, but you need to know how to keep them safe before they even consider entering the water. Here’s how you can start.
Teaching them to swim
Let’s start off with the basics — actually teaching them to swim, which hopefully, eventually is the ultimate swimming safety hack. With a baby, you can start by simply getting them comfortable in the water and even going under the surface. To do that, use the old blow-in-their-face trick:
That’s obviously just a start and is not actual swimming but it does help them get used to being in a pool.
So when should you start actual swim lessons? Well, earlier than we used to think. Swimming lessons can start to become beneficial around the child’s first birthday.
If you’re looking for a low-cost swim lesson option, research your local council pool, or smaller swim schools in your local area.
However, however, do not let these lessons lull you into a false sense of security. Learning to swim will help young kids begin to learn the basics of going underwater, floating and just generally moving around in the water. That doesn’t mean you can now take your eyes off them.
And oddly enough, spotting someone who is drowning is harder than you might think. There’s not all that thrashing and gasping and yelling depicted in TV and movies. No, in real life, it’s much quieter and harder to spot.
In case regular drowning isn’t awful or scary enough, you’ve probably also heard about “dry drowning” or “secondary drowning.” Dry drowning is when a person has aspirated water into the trachea and down into the lungs and dies hours or days later. While it’s important to understand the signs and symptoms of dry drowning, it doesn’t mean your child is in danger every time they swallow a little pool water.
Out on the open water
Great, so they’ve had their lessons, you know how to watch for signs of drowning, and your kids are like fish in the pool. Maybe now they’re 9 or 10 years old and have been swimming with proficiency for years. You can finally relax on that holiday trip to the beach, right?
Nope, nope, nope. Swimming in open water is a totally different beast with drop-offs, strong currents and limited visibility.
Be extra vigilant around open water and teach your kids that it’s different than swimming in a pool.
You can relax on this rule, though
There is one thing we give you permission to be less vigilant about: Eating and swimming. There is no actual health reason to make kids wait 10 minutes, 30 minutes or a whole freaking hour after eating before they can go back in the pool.
Pull ‘em out, feed ‘em a sandwich, and send ‘em right back in.