Will teaching your child to swim save him or her from accidental drowning? Whatever other goals parents may have for enrolling their child in swim lessons, that is always their number one priority. The truth is swim lessons are like seat belts and holding your child’s hand when crossing the street – they provide another layer of protection, but there is more to water safety than putting on a swim suit once or twice a week. Education and training for an emergency are vital.
Several times a year Academy Swim Club holds “Safety Week” as part of our complete water safety program. During this week regular lessons focus on safety skills and preparing our swimmers for handling water emergencies. The most stunning example of this is when we ask our swimmers to jump into the water with their clothes on. All of our swimmers at every level are asked to come to lessons with their clothes on over their swim suit. Water makes clothes heavy and unwieldy, shoes make kicking more difficult – sensations that panic many children at first. That’s why we want their first experience swimming with their clothes on to come in a controlled environment where their instructor stands ready to help the swimmer float and get back to the wall. Panic can strike even the most confident young swimmer caught in an unfamiliar situation, such as falling into a pool while fully clothed. After Safety Week the strange feel of wearing clothes in the water is not new and they are better prepared to cope with this emergency.
Safety Week lessons also focus on what to do if you see someone struggling in the water, when to call 911 and personal flotation device (PFD) use. General rules that should be observed around water are discussed at length, including the most important one – NEVER SWIM ALONE! Drowning is 100% preventable and supervision is key to circumventing tragedy.
Our next Safety Week is from March 22nd through March 27th. Your child should wear regular street clothes (that you won’t mind taking a dip in our pool) over their swimsuit. Shoes and socks should also be worn. Jackets, sweatshirts, etc. also make the lesson more effective. Don’t forget to bring a change of clothes and bag to take the wet clothes home in!