The swim and water safety experts at Goldfish Swim School Oakdale share practical tips and skills.
May is National Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Month. In the Twin Cities we have added hazards of cold water, swift currents and the fact that we are always near water in this Land of 10,000 Lakes. This important topic impacts all families. Every adult who supervises children needs to know basic information on how to keep kids safer in and around water.
Water Safety Info Every Family Needs to Know
When it comes to drowning, the statistics are pretty staggering. Drowning is the leading cause of injury death to children ages one to four—and the second leading cause of injury death for children ages one to 14, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What’s more, statistics show that thousands of children are hospitalized each year for nonfatal drowning incidents. Accidents can happen quickly. A child can drown in as little as one inch of water and in as little time as 20 seconds.
Every parent and caregiver needs to keep the following water safety tips in mind:
- Any time kids are around water (even bathtubs), designate a “water watcher” who will avoid cell phones, conversations, magazines and anything else that might distract the adult from watching swimming children EVERY SINGLE SECOND. After all, most children who drown are supervised.
- The American Red Cross says that the number one thing that parents can do to keep kids safer around water is to enroll them in swim lessons, but they also recommend that parents and teens learn rescue breathing and CPR.
- Swimming is an essential life-saving skill with numerous physical, mental and intellectual benefits.
- Get swim lessons for yourself or any other caregiver who cannot swim or is afraid of water.
- Realize that flotation devices, foam toys, noodles and air-filled, inner tubes do NOT protect against drowning. They are created as water toys, not life-saving devices.
- Life jackets should be designated as U.S. Coast Guard-approved.
- Fence pools at home.
- Know that even the most seasoned swimmers can still encounter trouble. Make sure both new and strong swimmers don’t overestimate their skills and that they understand the importance of never swimming alone.
Basic Water Skills
In addition to these tips, there are several basic skills we’ve learned from Goldfish Swim School. Parents can practice these skills with their kids anytime they are in the water together:
Work on getting in and out of the pool safely. Elbow, Elbow, Tummy, Knee! Help your little ones learn how to get out of the pool by manipulating their bodies in this order: elbow, elbow, tummy, knee. Practice this often; you can even do this on your living room floor by having your baby climb onto a couch or chair! After you practice, always remember to celebrate. Eventually, your little one will be strong enough to manage the movement on their own! This is a skill that kids continue to use to safely exit the pool — even when they are older!
Jump, Turn, Swim to the Wall! Once they have the movement down, let your child jump off the side of the pool to you, help them physically turn back to the wall and then assist them in getting out of the pool by using the elbow, elbow, tummy, knee method. Do this over and over again as they get more confident let them go under the water and come to the surface on their own. This teaches kids to automatically turn back to the wall behind them to climb out. If a child were to fall into a pool, this skill could help them find the quickest way to safety. Sea Otter Float. Work with your child on turning over and getting their faces out of the water to take a breath when he/she fatigues.
About Goldfish Swim School Oakdale
Goldfish Swim School Oakdale provides swim instruction to children ages 4 months to 12 years-old in a unique setting with highly trained instructors, small class sizes (max 4:1 student to teacher ratio), shiver-free 90-degree pools, and a state-of-the-art water purification system. In addition to swim lessons, Goldfish Swim School Oakdale also offers weekly family swims (for both members and non-members) and birthday party packages. For more information or to register for lessons, visit the website or call (651) 236-9390.