Do you wonder if you should be in the water with your child or not? This post will answer that question. You may not always want to get in the water with your children but when you learn that :
- drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in children ages 1 to 14, or that
- for children under age 5, drowning is a leading cause of accidental death, with rates even surpassing those of traffic accident fatalities, or that
- 75% of children involved in submersion or drowning accidents had been missing or out of sight for 5 minutes or less,
I think you’ll change your mind. Please don’t let your child become a statistic!
Now that I got your attention, let’s talk about when you should be in the water or a water watcher. Let’s assume you want your child to work on their swimming skills so they are not wearing any non-inflatable flotation device. Here is our guide:
If your child cannot swim well, or is in the purple or red level of our swim school, the parent should be in the water right next to the child. If the child is starting to learn to swim and can perform the survival swim without help, the yellow level of our swim school, the parent should be in the water and within arm’s reach of the child. If the child can perform survival swim, freestyle, and backstroke on their own, or they are in the green or blue level of our swim school, the parent needs to be an active water watcher (see last week’s blog post) and watching their child while they are in the water. This level of watching can be at the side of the pool.
Purple Seahorse and Red Starfish: In the water, right next to the child.
Yellow Fish: In the water, within arm’s reach of child.
Green Frogs and Blue Dolphins: Being a good water watcher at the side of the pool.
If you want to work on skills, please mimic what Coach Caron or your child’s teacher does in the pool (horizontal position, chin close to the water, blowing bubbles, etc.) to provide as much consistency as possible. Feel free to ask me, or your child’s teacher, for suggestions on skills to practice.
If you want your purple through yellow level child to play in the water with some independence, please use a US Coast Guard approved Life Jacket. Do not rely on blow up floaties or rafts to support your child for independent play. If something happens and the blow up apparatus deflates, your child will panic and be in trouble.
By following these rules, your child should be safer around the water and your days of swimming will be packed with fun.
(Statistic sources: Child Health Month Coalition, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and US Consumer Product Safety Commission.)