Swim Lessons

Posted by  | Wednesday, May 18, 2011  at 5:06 PM  
My little L just started swim lessons this month at 4.5 years old. Like I said before, she's fearless, and we experienced that the first time we went to the beach with her at around 18 - 20 months. She would run headstrong into the ocean.

L at around 19 months.

However, I've heard from the swim instructor on a few occasions this month that L sinks like a deadweight in the water. She said she's never seen anything like it. L will even sink with her floaty thing strapped around her waist. She really is a pretty muscular little girl with zero body fat. I know she'll get the hang of it eventually, but I hope sooner than later, with summer around the corner.

That's my L with the braids sticking out.

I didn't even know I captured this sad picture until it was already taken. She had just gone under the water so quickly and sucked in the water, even with her floaty device on. This Mama's heart was so sad to see this from behind the glass wall from where I was watching the lesson. I kept telling myself that I had to trust the instructor, but you better BELIEVE I was still watching and ready to dive if L went down when the instructor ever turned her back. :)

But she recovered so quickly, as she always does, and was smiling ear to ear again.

 Our YMCA started giving free swim lessons for children five years and older this Spring due to so many children drowning as of late.  I don't know about you, but that grips my heart like nothing else, because these deaths could possibly have been prevented through swim lessons.  I did a little research on aquatic safety and drowning statistics and thought I'd share what I found from the CDC, Poseidon , National Drowning Statistics , and Drowning Prevention websites. Here are just a few, so please check out those links above to raise your awareness:

- In 2004, of all children 1-4 years old who died, 26% died from drowning (CDC 2006). Fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years (CDC 2005)

-19% of drowning deaths involving children occur in public pools with certified lifeguards present.
(Drowning Prevention Foundation)

-In 2004, there were 3,308 unintentional drownings in the United States, an average of nine people per day.(CDC 2006)

-An estimated 5,000 children ages 14 and under are hospitalized due to unintentional drowning-related incidents each year; 15 percent die in the hospital and as many as 20 percent suffer severe, permanent neurological disability. (National Safety Council)

-Of all preschoolers who drown, 70 percent are in the care of one or both parents at the time of the drowning and 75 percent are missing from sight for five minutes or less.(Orange County, CA, Fire Authority)

-Children under five and adolescents between the ages of 15-24 have the highest drowning rates.
(U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Do those stats not make you GASP and your blood pressure rise? How about a terrible pit in your stomach?Whew. I just can't believe the reality of those stats, but they ARE true. Swim safety has got to be one area where I'm always having to be super attentive to the kids while at the beach or a local pool. No relaxing or reading for this Mama! And this is one area where I am hesitant to drop the kids off at a person's house who has even a blow up pool out back.  In an instant, drownings can happen.

When L was around 18 months or so, we would go up the the Southeastern Seminary Campus for her to run around. She LOVED going to the fountain to see the water shoot out. Watch this little clip so you can see what I'm talking about before I proceed with my story.

One day, she leaned forward, lost her balance and went in face first into about 4" deep water, head wedged in a little gap/corner, with her feet sticking up in the air. FOUR INCHES people. Not a lot of water we're talking about here. Completely helpless. You saw how much taller she was than the edge and one would think that she wouldn't get herself in that kind of situation, but it happened so fast. I was RIGHT beside her thankfully, not talking on the phone, not digging for my camera from the stroller, not talking to another Mama, but RIGHT there and snatched her up faster than you can even blink. Her whole face was under water.  I had to take a breather once I calmed her down and knew she was okay. I kept asking myself, what if I had been a few feet away with my back to her? What if I had been tending to another child just around the shrub that surrounded the fountain? Even when talking about a few inches of water, you cannot for one second walk away from children who are playing near water.

Now, I have a few questions for you:

-Have you had any frightening experiences concerning water and your children?

-When did your child first take swim lessons?

-Where do you take your swim lessons?

-Given your child's love of water and trust in the instructor in teaching her to swim, how quickly did your child progress from one swim class to the next? (For example, at the YMCA the beginner class is called Perfect Pikes, the next class is called Eels, etc..)

Safe swimming to all this Summer!


    Meg said...

    We started swim lessons at a local pool with Karis this spring and she loves them! She used to be slightly afraid of the water and the lessons have really helped her be excited about swimming. There are only 3 other kids in her class and I feel very comfortable with the way the class has been done. She has been once a week for 6 weeks now and we are planning to do one more session this sumer to make sure she fully understands the concepts. With 3 littles, we are now outnumbered and felt like it was so important to make sure Karis learned water safety! Definitely worth the money!

    Courtney said...

    I taught swim lessons for about a zillion years at our local pool. my youngest class was 2 year olds. My boys are 2 and a half and 1 and a half. The younger is FEARLESS and already puts his face in the water and tries to blow bubbles. (which of course makes the older jump right in as well) We have been working on putting our faces in and laying down in the water during bathtime.
    This summer I will probably work with my kids seperately anytime my husband is able to come to the pool with us. I am super excited, but know that some kids need more formal lessons that aren't from mom. But for this summer I think I will be plenty

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