Some of my favorite memories growing up took place splashing in pools and jumping ocean waves. We would swim and swim until our fingers were all pruny and we were exhausted but deliriously happy. It is one of the perks of growing up in the Sunshine State, and I couldn’t be happier to share that with my own kids.
As a kid who grew up around water, I never saw much danger in it when I was younger. However, looking through the eyes of a parent now, I see so much possibility for injury. How do we give our kids the gift of playing in the water while keeping our minds free of worry? The best answer seems to be all about prevention and preparation (as most safety precautions seem to be).
The scary fact is that drowning is the second highest cause of accidental death in children ages one to fourteen years old in the US according to the Center for Disease Control, so there our worry is warranted. Thankfully, we have some wonderful resources in Orlando to help us, including British Swim School who has offered us some wonderful advice about water safety. They are dedicated to ensuring that everyone, regardless of age or ability, has the opportunity to become a safe and happy swimmer, so we have paired up with them for some ways that you can keep your kids safe around water. You can find the rest of their thirty-five tips at their website.
- Appoint a designated “water watcher” during social gatherings. Getting together with friends can be fun, but distracting, so make sure at least one adult is always responsible for monitoring the kids in the water.
- If you are missing a child, check the water first. Since seconds count in a drowning situation, go straight to the water just in case.
- Understand what the warning flags at the beach mean and teach your kids to recognize them as well.
- Do not leave a young child unattended, even for mere minutes—remember, even seconds count and can make a huge difference in the extent of a drowning injury. Also, never leave another child in charge of a younger child.
- Start swimming education and water survival early. Classes at British Swim School start at just three months old and can introduce infants to the water without fear. Even these young babies can learn important skills such as back floating, which enables them to rest, breathe, and call for help—which might just save their lives one day.
Rita Goldberg, owner of British Swim School, wants kids to know that having fun and swimming safely go hand in hand, and that all starts with learning the basics of water survival. For over thirty years their swim instructors have been teaching the importance of skills such as back floating to infants and children, so they have been able to fine tune their approach and make swimming fun for everyone. You can see more of their advice on their website and check out their various programs for everyone from infants and toddlers to older kids destined for the swim team who want to focus on correct form.
With these tips in mind you can breathe a little easier at the pool or beach and let your kids enjoy everything that growing up Floridian offers.