Summer is swim time and water safety is one of the most important things you can teach your kids. According to Stanford Children’s Health, drowning is the second leading cause of death in young children, and most of these drownings occur in a child’s own backyard pool. So, let’s keep our kids safe by teaching them lifesaving water safety.
First and foremost, teach your child to float on his or her back. Babies as young as 6 months old can do this; it just takes a little practice. Older children, those about 4 years and up, may have more difficulty due to not having as much “baby fat” to help keep them afloat, however, they can still master this technique relatively quickly.
TeachYourKidsToSwim.com offers this advice: Start out on dry land and have your child lie flat on his back, with his chin tilted up. Next, move to a shallow bathtub so he can get used to the feeling of water on his ears. In the pool, talk about not bending at the waist and relaxing the upper body – the lungs are the most buoyant part so as long as his chin is tilted up, he should be able to breathe, despite sinking legs. Use tinted goggles or sun glasses when outside to protect your child’s eyes and encourage him to keep his head, arms and legs down in the water (lifting anything up makes you sink). Gradually reduce the amount of support you’re providing, moving to just a fingertip underneath his head. Make a game out of it by having your child try to balance something small on his tummy while floating, and be sure to give lots of rewards like splash time and high fives.
Not up for the challenge yourself? Don’t worry, most aren’t, which is why there are many swim instructors to choose from right here in The Woodlands. The Woodlands Township has a Learn to Swim Program for all ages and abilities – these lessons are either group or private and are offered at nine of the community pools.
Aqua Tots in Shenandoah, The Pod in Oak Ridge North, and FINS in The Woodlands, Spring, and Cypress all have indoor pools for year-round swimming. These programs offer lessons for babies through adults, along with water aerobics, special needs programs, and competitive swim skills classes.
This is one area where you don’t want to take any chances. Sign your kids up for swim lessons today – it is a skill they will have for life!