May is National Water Safety Awareness Month. As we head to pool and beach season, it’s the perfect time for all families and caregivers to review essential swim and water safety basics.
Water Safety Tips
The swim and water safety experts at Goldfish Swim School share practical tips and skills for National Water Safety Awareness Month.
Did you know:
Drowning is the number one cause of injury-related death for children ages one to four
Drowning kills nearly 1,000 children every year
Formal swimming lessons reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88 percent
Sadly, childhood drownings have been on the rise as the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a formal warning of an increased threat in drownings due to implications brought on by the pandemic.
According to Total Aquatics Programming data, the summer months (May-August) account for two-thirds of annual childhood drowning incidents.
So, what do parents need to know when it comes to water safety? We asked the swim and water safety experts at Goldfish Swim School Urbandale to share their essential water safety tips with us:
Enroll in Swim Lessons: As a result of the increased threat in childhood drownings, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids continue to safely participate in organized drowning prevention classes despite the COVID-19 health crisis. Lessons help increase muscle memory by practicing basic techniques for kids to use during a water emergency – such as the crab walk, properly getting in and out of the pool, going under water, rolling on their back, treading water, learning different strokes, etc.
Never swim alone: While many of our young ones think they’re all grown up and don’t need a swim buddy, you can re-enforce this rule by explaining this rule goes for kids and adults alike. Teach your children to always have a buddy in the water – whether it be an adult or peer – at the beach, on vacation, or at home. Children can drown in as little as two inches of water, so if water is around, make sure someone else is, too.
Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-Approved Life Jacket: Having a proper floatation device is one of the easiest ways to increase safety in the water – search for the United States Coast Guard approval on it. Pay attention to proper fit – the fit matters, because if your head or ears can slip down beneath the life jacket, the device won’t be able to work as designed to keep your head above water and allow for proper breathing. A U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket is especially important when swimming in lakes and oceans when water conditions can be uncertain and unpredictable.
Designate a Water Guardian: Make sure to keep your eyes on your kids at all times – even if lifeguards are present. Kids are as curious as they come and are always willing to push the limits without knowing the true hazards. Designate an adult “Water Guardian” and be sure to change guardians every 30 minutes so he/she is alert and refreshed. A Water Guardian’s sole responsibility needs to be keeping an eye on the swimmers. Vigilance is key – no chatting, no checking your phone, no distractions.
Play it Cool and Follow the Rules: Sometimes when our little ones are in play-mode, rules fall by the wayside. Review rules together as a family before letting your kids loose to enjoy the water. Pay special attention to pool hours, and always schedule your swims when lifeguards are present, if possible.
What water safety skills can parents practice with their kids this summer?
There are several basic skills that instructors at Goldfish Swim School work on with students every week. 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. Fin, Fin, Belly, Flipper! 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 Fin, Fin, Belly, Flipper 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.
Rollover/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.
Take the Safer Swimmer Pledge
Goldfish Swim School has launched a ‘Safer Swimmer Pledge’ campaign to bring greater awareness to water safety and drowning prevention. Throughout the month of May, families are encouraged to take the pledge and promote the importance of parent-child conversations around water safety.
Visit the Safer Swimmer Pledge landing page, where families can sign to join the cause in promoting and prioritizing water safety, while also accessing at-home water safety tools and activities and reviewing “water safety whys” – families first-hand experiences and testimonials on how water safety has made an impact in their lives.
Those who take the pledge will be entered to win one year of free swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School. Additionally, for each pledge, Goldfish Swim School will donate $1 to the USA Swimming Foundation, the philanthropic arm of USA Swimming, which supports swim lesson providers with resources, materials, and grant funding to allow the opportunity for every child across the country to learn to swim. Once families have taken the pledge, they will also receive a promo code for 25% off any Speedo USA purchase with 10% of that purchase also donated to the USA Swimming Foundation.
We are looking forward to a fun and safe summer for all Des Moines-area families!
Connect with Goldfish Swim School
Goldfish Swim School Urbandale provides swim instruction to children ages 4 months to 12 years in a family-friendly setting with highly trained instructors, small class sizes, shiver-free 90-degree pool. Visit the website for more information: goldfishswimschool.com.
3771 86th Street, Urbandale, IA 50322
This article is part of a series from Goldfish Swim School