Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Swimming Lessons Won't Save Your Child

I have had my girls in swimming lessons from a young age. My middle daughter has been learning to swim from the age of six months and is fairly confident in the water. I would like to think that if anything ever happened in a pool she would be able to get herself to safety.

That assumption was proved wrong recently.

We were enjoying a swim in my Dad's pool and Claire ( who is three) had found a baby float ring that she wanted to use. We told her she was too big for it, but she was determined to give it a try. She slid her little legs through the ring and lowered herself onto the float. As the ring was too small for her hips to slide in it was obvious she was going to be unbalanced. "That's not going to work", we said. "It will tip over", we told her but she continued in her attempt.

Sure enough the ring flipped over leaving Claire partially in the ring and face down in the water. With all the swimming lessons she has had I expected her to wriggle free of the ring and swim to the side. I actually waited a second to see if she would. Do you know what she did? Absolutely nothing! She just remained face down in the water. Seeing this, I jumped in fully clothed to the pool and pulled her to safety. As I brought her to the surface she stayed calm and after about thirty seconds it was like it never happened at all. She didn't cry, she didn't seem scared, nothing.

Happier in a slightly bigger float ring

In some ways it wasn't scary at all. She was never in danger because there were three adults supervising her. However, it has really shaken up the way I think about my children's ability to save themselves in a swimming pool. Swimming lessons are fantastic, but they won't save a child from drowning in a pool. The ONLY thing that is truly effective is adult supervision. You can't leave them for even a second, even to answer the phone, get a towel or go to the toilet.

Too many children drown in swimming pools. Most of the time is a because they wander off, but I do wonder how many near drowning occur because adults think their kids will be fine because they have had swimming lessons.

This summer if you are swimming with small children PLEASE NEVER LEAVE THEM ALONE. It is just not worth the risk. And keep up the swimming lessons because in combination with adult supervision it

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