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The Benefits of a Complete Water Safety Program

Date:  Apr 28-2006

This time of year, there are many individuals, and some organizations, offering swim lessons for your children. Some of these instructors are quite good at teaching some levels or ages of children, but are quickly outdone as their students learn and advance into upper levels and strokes. Some instructors have been on swim teams, but don’t know the correct stroke except the stroke they swam. Some instructors have been very qualified swimmers, but have no experience teaching babies and toddlers, and are learning on your children. Most instructors fail to include water safety as part of their students’ training.
            Since drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for children under 5 in the state of California, water safety needs to be part of every swim lesson curriculum. These numbers do not include the many, many children who are rescued, but suffer permanent brain damage as a result of the drowning incident. Most instructors only see swimming as the goal of lessons. Many children who drown have taken swimming lessons, so lessons alone are not the answer to water safety. When instructors, and organizations, take water safety seriously, it is a mandatory part of the curriculum in their program. There are scheduled lessons dedicated to many aspects of water safety. The instructor or organization teaches CPR classes to the parents. Every instructor is currently CPR and Lifeguard Certified, as well as Instructor Certified.   The staff go through ongoing safety and rescue training, as well as detailed scenarios and discussions about the major role of the lifeguard in preventing accident and injury.  In a true water safety program, the instructor is building confidence of the student in the water, but not without respect for the water and for the child’s limitations, too.
            So when you sign up for swim lessons this summer, be sure you know what safety lessons are included with the swim instruction. Take it upon yourself to learn CPR. Drowning is very silent, and when a victim is found on the bottom of the pool, every second counts toward getting oxygen to the brain. If you know CPR, you don’t have to wait for emergency technicians to arrive to get that precious oxygen circulating, and it almost always means the difference between life and death. It is a peace of mind well worth it!

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