If yours is a family who loves to spend time outdoors, chances are you’ll be in the water from time to time. Our boys’ favorite days are the ones spent by a creek, lake, river, or pool. There are rocks to skip, fish to catch, diving boards to jump off of.
But as much fun as the water can be, it can be dangerous too. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), about 300 children under the age of five drown in swimming pools each year. That doesn’t count those who drown in ponds, lakes, creeks, or other natural waterways. And most of the victims reported by the CPSC had been missing less than five minutes when they were found in the pools.
While there are many ways to prevent drowning and other water accidents, I think one of the most important is to make sure kids know how to swim. Even very young children can learn to blow bubbles and kick their way to the top of the water when submerged.
Our boys started swimming lessons today. They’ve spent enough time in the water to know how to get around pretty well, and they’re not afraid to jump in or get their faces wet. But I want them to know not just enough to survive; I want them to be strong swimmers who know how to stay safe in the water and could lend a hand to another swimmer who might be in trouble. It will take some time — they’re only five and three — but we’re on our way.
The mom of another three-year-old told me her son had fallen into the pool recently, but because he’s had swimming lessons and they’ve practiced regularly for almost a year, he didn’t panic and kicked his way out of the water and to the side of the pool. What a relief. Of course there’s no substitute for parental supervision, but accidents happen, so why not be prepared?
Do your kids take swimming lessons? What are your tips for keeping kids safe around water?