- Enroll children in swimming lessons
At Steve Wallen Swim School, we believe that the earlier a child starts swim lessons, the better. Swim lessons at an early age can teach children water safety and water awareness skills. These skills will teach students to respect the water and help them develop confidence. Students enrolled in year-round swim lessons will achieve developmental, physical, and social benefits, and will gain a skill that ensures a lifetime of safe, fun swimming.
- Keep kids under constant supervision
No matter how advanced one thinks a child is at swimming, children must always be supervised when in or around the water.
- Know CPR
CPR is a procedure that everyone should know how to do. You never know when administering CPR could help to save a life.
- Install pool fences and barriers
If you have a pool, installing fences or other barriers around the pool is highly recommended, especially if there are children near the area.
- Follow a getting-ready-to-swim routine before swimming
Very similar to following a morning routine to get ready for school, if a child follows a routine such as going to the bathroom, putting on swim diaper and suit, and applying sunscreen to get ready for swimming, it will deter them from jumping in a pool on a whim.
- Create a verbal cue to (always) give your kids before entering the pool
For example, “Mr. Bigglesworth” can be an excellent verbal cue to help keep kids out of the pool until a parent gives permission and is ready to supervise.
Always put a swim diaper/suit on before swimming
Encourage children to always put a suit on before entering a pool or spa.
- Limit the use of floaties or water wings when swimming
Throughout the “learn to swim” phase, we highly recommend that parents get in the water with their children during any non-swim lesson time in the pool. It is essential to allow children to learn to swim independently, without the use of any flotation devices. These devices create a false sense of security and cause children to become dependent on swimming with them. If children fall or jump into a pool, they must be able to float, put their face in the water, and be able to swim to the side of the pool- all without the aid of a flotation device.
- All kids should know how to swim without goggles
All students should learn to swim without wearing goggles and be able to open their eyes underwater while swimming. Many students become dependent on wearing goggles and lose the ability to swim if their goggles fall off or fill with water while swimming. If a child happens to fall into a pool without goggles, they must be comfortable opening their eyes in the water in order to locate the nearest step or wall and swim to safety.
- Teach kids to put their faces in the water in the bath and shower
Putting their faces in water is one of the most important skills for children to practice helping learn proper breath control in the water. For any student to learn to swim, they must first develop breath control, know how to blow bubbles, and hold their breath in the water. This is a simple skill to practice at home for kids to become more confident in the water as well as learn to swim younger and faster!
- Create a water safety plan with your family
It is always essential to have a water safety plan with your family. The plan should include knowing the signs of a swimmer in distress and what to do in this emergency.
- Make sure guests know pool rules before swimming
They should consist of rules such as no running, no diving, and no wrestling in the water.
- Always make sure kids wear life jackets on boats and open bodies of water
Boating, kayaking, swimming, or any other activities in open bodies of water should always involve a life jacket. These bodies of water are much more unpredictable in terms of currents and depths, as well as water clarity.
- Remove all toys from the pool after swimming
Toys left floating on the surface, or on a step can be tempting for children and cause them to fall in the water. All toys should be removed from the pool and placed on the deck, or better yet, put completely away after all have finished swimming.
- Check the pool or any body of water FIRST if a child is missing
Always check the pool, spa, bathtub, or any other body of water FIRST if a child goes missing.
- Designate an adult to watch kids while swimming with no distractions
There should always be a designated supervisor watching swimmers. Maybe even take shifts with other adults and be cautious when allowing an older child to have this job.
- Never swim alone
We recommend always using the buddy system while swimming.
- Be aware of drains or suction outlets in pools and spas
Swimmers should try to avoid drains or suction outlets in pools and spas and should never enter a pool or spa that has a loose, broken or missing drain cover. A swimmer’s hair, limbs, jewelry, or swimsuit can get stuck and can trap a swimmer underwater. When using a spa, be sure to locate the emergency vacuum shutoff before getting in the water.
- Always know what lies below when swimming, jumping, or diving in open bodies of water
Often open water swimming areas have large boulders or debris that cannot be seen from above the surface and can be very dangerous. The bottom of these open water swimming areas can also drop off quickly and cause people to lose their footing.
- After eating, wait for a period before swimming
One may think this is an old wives’ tale; however, one theory suggests that “stitches,” or cramps, are caused by the weight of a full stomach tugging on the ligaments that hold it in place. Whether or not this is true, it is a fact that a full belly can make any exerciser uncomfortable, and in some cases, can lead to vomiting.
- Have Fun!