Safety Week at Academy Swim Club contains a lot of information, but these three easy water safety rules just might save your child’s life. Review them early and often for a watersmart kid!
1. Never swim alone – Always swim with a grown-up!
This is the number one rule in the pool. Even a good swimmer can get a cramp or hit his head and need help. Oh, and make sure your child understands what age qualifies as an adult. A three year old might consider her ten year old cousin a “grown up”.
2. Never jump in to save someone–Get a grown-up (or Reach & Throw–Don’t Go)
Some kids will instinctively jump into a pool to rescue another child that is struggling, especially a sibling or close friend or relative. It is especially important to train young children that the best way to help is to tell an adult (again, making sure they are clear on who makes the cut-off). Reassure your child that he will not be in trouble (even if he broke the rules and snuck out to the pool with his little sister). In the event that an adult is not available for some reason, school age children can be taught Reach and Throw rescues. The rescuer holds out a hand, towel, noodle, etc. for the child in the water to grab ahold of, and then tows her back to the side. The rescuer MUST lie on his/her tummy while pulling the victim to safety so s/he is not accidentally pulled into the water as well.
3. Wall Walk to the Steps
Wall walking is like the Vice President of water safety skills – unappreciated and overlooked, but really, really important in the case of an emergency. If your child falls into a pool then manages to grab the wall, the safest way to exit is to wall walk to the stairs (not to be confused with the ladder, which can be slippery). He should NOT try to climb out at the side. Chances are he will fall back in and not have the energy to make it back to the wall again. It’s a good idea to practice wall walking to the left and right – toddlers can become so used to wall walking in one direction that it becomes impossible for them to go the other way.
Talk to your child about these rules regularly, emphasizing the actions he or she should take in case of a water emergency.