The following sponsored content is provided by our partner and water safety expert, Mandy Yackey, owner of Goldfish Swim School – West Chester (opening summer 2016).
We are enjoying another beautiful summer here in Cincinnati. And that means plenty of time at the pool, beach and local water parks! Many families are planning on water-related fun for the upcoming 4th of July weekend.
Sadly, every summer communities across the country are impacted by drowning or near-drowning incidents and Cincinnati is no different. The bottom line is that these accidents can happen fast and parents need to be aware of what they can do to keep kids safer around water. At Goldfish Swim School West Chester, we are making it our mission to ensure that ALL Cincinnati-area families have the skills and information to keep kids safer around water!
Drowning is the leading cause of injury death to children ages one to four—and the second leading cause of injury death for children ages one to 14, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to the drownings reported, many children also suffer other water-related injuries each summer. This is a topic that every family needs to be aware of.
So what does drowning look like? What are the warning signs?
- It happens quickly. A child can drown in as little as one inch of water and in as little time as 20 seconds.
- Often, adults are around when a child is drowning but they are unaware of what is happening.
- Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that we see on television is rarely seen in real life. You will not see screaming kids flailing their arms! Constant supervision is important so you notice a child whose face has gone under water or is struggling. If they are taking on water, they WILL NOT be able to shout out for help.
- Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are in the water:
- Head low in the water, mouth at water level
- Head tilted back with mouth open
- Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
- Eyes closed
- Hair over forehead or eyes
- Not using legs—vertical
- Hyperventilating or gasping
- Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
- Trying to roll over on the back
- Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder
What do families need to know when it comes to being safer around the water?
- Any time kids are around water, designate a “water watcher” who will avoid cell phones, conversations, magazines and anything else that might distract the adult from watching swimming children EVERY SINGLE SECOND. Many children who drown are supervised.
- Realize that floaties, noodles and plastic inner tubes do NOT protect against drowning. They are created as water toys, not life-saving devices. Life jackets should be designated as U.S. Coast Guard-approved.
- Get swim lessons for yourself or any other caregiver who cannot swim or is afraid of water.
- The American Red Cross says that the number one thing that parents can do to keep kids safer around water is to enroll them in swim lessons. Swimming is an essential life-saving skill with numerous physical, mental and intellectual benefits.
How can we educate our kids about water safety?
- Goldfish Swim School has a Water Safety Program that we bring to local schools, day care centers and community group to educate kids and families about some water safety basics. We are happy to bring this FREE, engaging program to interested community organizations to teach kids the basics of water safety. We encourage any interested schools to reach out to us because this applies to every child. Water safety can be part of any school’s curriculum.
What skills can parents practice with their kids?
Enroll your child in lessons and practice basic water safety whenever you are in the water together. Here are some skills you can work on this summer:
- Work on getting in and out of the pool safely. Elbow, Elbow, Tummy, Knee! Help your little ones learn how to get out of the pool by manipulating their bodies in this order: elbow, elbow, tummy, knee. Practice this often; you can even do in on your living room floor by having your baby climb onto a couch or chair! After you practice, always remember to celebrate. Eventually, your little one will be strong enough to manage the movement on their own.
- Jump, Turn, Swim to the Wall! Once they have the movement down, let your child jump off the side of the pool to you, help them physically turn back to the wall and then assist them in getting out of the pool by using the elbow, elbow, tummy, knee method. Do this over and over again as they get more confident let them go under the water and come to the surface on their own.
- Crab Walk. Help your kids work on their grasp reflex to assist with their ability to get out of the pool. Support them while they crab walk by holding onto the wall and eventually inching their way down.
- Assist your baby to practice pulling paddle motions with their arms. This trains both the mind and muscles to perform techniques for later swimming strokes.
The water can be (and should be) a place for family fun. Constant supervision and basic water safety skills will make for a safer summer for everyone. We look forward to seeing you in our pool later this summer!
Mandy Yackey is the owner of Goldfish Swim School West Chester. Goldfish Swim School provides swim instruction to children ages 4 months to 12 years in a unique setting with highly trained instructors, small class sizes, shiver-free 90-degree pools, and a state-of-the-art water purification system. For more information or to pre-register for lessons, please visit http://westchester.goldfishswimschool.com/ or call 513/857-1700.