Handy hints

VERY IMPORTANT PLEASE READ: When there is a body of water near you, no matter how insignificant you may think that body of water may be, never take your eyes off your child or the person you are looking after. Drowning is a silent killer and occurs in pools, dams, lakes, rivers, oceans, bathtubs, buckets, washing machines, fishponds, tree stump holes, canals and irrigation ditches.

Any body of water, no matter how small, can be fatal to toddlers, children, teenagers, and adults. Be vigilant, alert and responsive in and out of the water. 100% of toddler drownings could be avoided by never taking your eyes off your child and by remaining with arms length of them at all times. When there is water around no matter how small or insignificant you think that body of water may be. Remember a toddler can drown in a bucket.

IMPORTANT LINK: www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-24816762.html

We spend the first forty weeks of our lives living in a fluid environment. At birth we are familiar with the weightless feeling of being in that environment and having our eyes, nose, ears and mouth immersed in a fluid. In other words we are born with the two basic skills we need to develop before we can learn to swim; BALANCE and BREATH CONTROL. Of course within a few moments of being born we have the potential to drown. Even though we may float on or near the surface of the water a new born baby/toddler/young child does not have the skills to hold the water with their hands and feet well enough to get their mouth out of the water and take a breath. Sometime between when we are born and when we get back into that water environment some children develop a fear of the water. Set out below are a few hints that may help you prepare your child for their return to that water environment when they start formal swimming lessons.

  • At the beginning of every bath/shower time wet your hand and then stoke your baby’s/child’s hair until it is entirely wet. This will ensure the water flows more easily over your childs eyes, ears, nose and mouth. At first only a few drops of water flowing over their face is enough, especially in their eyes.
  • Familiarize your child with the water being in contact with their eyes, ears, nose and mouth by introducing them to small quantities of water over their head so that is runs over their eyes, ears, nose and mouth. 10mm of water in the bottom of a small plastic cup is a good starting point.
  • Make water moments as much fun as possible.
  • Use a trigger command before pouring the water e.g. 1-2-3 big breath and under (pour the water on the word ‘under’),
  • Showers are a good way to expose your child to water running over their face. Small exposure to water over the tops of their heads so the water runs over their eyes, ears, nose and mouth.
  • Make sure that if they have a bath, you wet their hair first then pour some small quantities of water over their head before any soap is introduced to the water.
  • Be careful when shampooing hair that you avoid shampoo in the eyes. Babies/toddlers associate water and stinging eyes.
  • Be mindful of cold water in home pools. Allow time for your child’s body temperature to adjust to the pool temperature.
  • If you are in swimming lessons make swim time outside lessons fun.
  • Be positive in your encouragement.
  • Wet sun suits can lower your child’s body temperature so be aware of this during the cooler months.
  • Warm clothes, especially headwear is essential after lesson wear in the cooler weather.
  • Make sure you dry out the outer ear, particularly during hot, humid weather. Consult your doctor or pharmacist as to a suitable product you can use.

For more details on how to make sure your child is relaxed and confident in the water, contact your preferred swim school.

DISCLAIMER: Shapland Swim Schools take no responsibility for any irresponsible acts while performing the above activities. Unreasonable amounts of water over a childs head can cause trauma and common sense needs to be used at all times.