What You Need to Know about Drowning Prevention
Karen Faust has been a certified Safe Start/Infant Swimming Resource instructor since 2007. She teaches Self-Rescue swimming to children ages 6 months to 6 years in the Orlando area. She teaches Water Safety to more than 1,000 students each year and has YMCA certifications for Learn-to-Swim instruction, Adult/Child CPR, First Aid, and Lifeguarding. She shared these tips for drowning prevention.
Drowning prevention is finally getting some traction. For far too long, we have not addressed the issue that could save the most lives – education. One survey found that 53% of parents don't think their child can drown. That is a staggering statistic and clearly contributes to the high rate of drownings in children under four.
I strongly recommend the following tools to prevent accidental drowning:
Barriers on all sides of the pool, at least four-ft. high with self-closing and latching gates. More compact pools, including Endless Pools®, can be fitted with secure covers that can support over 350 pounds; these covers function as ‘vertical fences’ offering sufficient protection.
Alarms on any doors and windows leading to the pool.
Alarms on the water surface.
Toys, noodles, and floats – anything that would attract a curious toddler – should be put away when you are not using the pool.
CPR Certification – In the event of an accident, these skills could be the only thing that saves a child's life.
A phone kept near the pool for emergencies.
Learn to swim.
I am privileged to have been teaching Infant Swimming Resource lessons for 10 years. This lifesaving program allows children as young as six months to a year to get into a floating position and stay there until help arrives. Older children learn to swim-float-swim. We teach these lessons by building trust with our students and building successively on each new skill. Some cry, but most will stop after only a few lessons.
Many programs tout Self-Rescue Lessons, but here are a few considerations when choosing for your child:
Seek out caring instructors that are highly trained to work with very young students.
Ask about annual recertification by an established organization.
Note your child’s daily eating, sleeping and activity patterns; your instructor will want this information to ensure that the safest lesson can be provided.
Group classes are fun but allow the child to overly rely on the parent; one-on-one classes give the child the attention required to develop useful self-rescue skills.
Refreshing the child’s skills every four to six months.
No child should ever:
Throw up-before, during or after lessons.
Vomit water after lessons.
Get thrown into the pool.
The Endless Pool provides an ideal environment for new swimmers. It’s shallow (water depth ranges from 39” to 54”) so adults can stand with their head above water; for kids, the nearby benches keep safety just one step away. The adjustable current has entry-level speeds near zero; you get as gentle a swim as you feel comfortable with (and with experience, as challenging a swim as you can handle!). Plus, the warm water of an Endless Pool helps new swimmers to relax; it’s tough to feel confident when you’re shivering!
Success depends on your child’s comfort. Always observe the lessons with the instructor first to make sure it’s a good fit for your child. Just like your decision on which preschool or doctor to use, your child looks to you to make them comfortable with your decisions.
Be constantly vigilant when around water. Teach your children that no one should ever swim alone, and they must have an adult with them in the water at all times.
Swimming is so much fun. Let’s keep it that way!!