I wrote this post almost 2 years ago………..and tonight I feel the need to share it again. And I will keep sharing it as long as I keep hearing about young children drowning in preventable situations.
Okay guys, time for to me turn my attention away from me and my life and focus on one of my biggest pet peeves in the universe. WATER SAFETY and CHILDREN. This is not a joke and not something to EVER be taken lightly. In my opinion, you can never be too safe with a pool when kids are involved.
As I watched the 10pm news last night I heard of a tragic story of a 3-year-old little girl here in Southern California who drowned this past weekend in a jacuzzi and when found she had been on the bottom of the jacuzzi for at least 15 minutes. FIFTEEN MINUTES. My first question is, why is a 3-year-old ever unattended for 15 minutes ANYWHERE…….much less near a pool?!?!
This is a tragic, awful, PREVENTABLE, tragedy.
I taught swimming lessons for many years, and life guarded in a day camp setting at a pool as well as for private parties. I have a WSI (water safety instructor) and my lifeguarding license. I cannot stress enough how important water and pool safety is to me.
I’m helping to raise two (soon to be 3) children who are growing up with a gated pool in their yard. This is topic is close to home and one of the most upsetting things I think parents take too lightly.
Here’s the first thing to do, THROW AWAY ALL WATER WINGS and VESTS. While when working properly they CAN be helpful, they also have several negative effects.
1.) Often they just fail to work properly. They’re defective. It’s scary, but true.
2.) In the story above the 3-year-old was able to remove the clasp herself and removed the vest all on her own without anyone noticing.
3.) The SCARIEST one for each and every one of you that I urge you to REALLY understand: the water wings, noodles and vests give the children the false sense of confidence that they can swim. Accidents happen when they end up jumping in or going in without one on and no one sees them and they drown. They didn’t know that they didn’t know how to swim. They provide a false sense of security.
The only solution as I see it here is to be vigilant.
- Never allow your child in the pool area without you.
- Never allow them in a pool without you.
- Refuse to play at any home without a pool fence or gate.
- And as early as possible TEACH THEM TO SWIM!!!
It’s never too early to teach water safety and what to do if you fall in!
Negligence is the sad reality here too many times each summer and it kills me each time I hear about it. These are preventable deaths.
Do what you can to teach your kids the skills AND to teach them water safety.
- We’ve taught the kids never to run in a pool area.
- Never to go into a pool area without an adult.
- Never go into the pool without an adult.
- Never jump into the pool without counting “1-2-3” WITH the adult you are jumping to.
……and most importantly we’ve been giving them swimming lessons since the summer that they turned 1.
I know there are times it is so much easier to use these vests, wings and noodles. I get it!!! But they are not the solution.
We had a swim party for a 5th birthday party just two weeks ago, we hired a skilled certified lifeguard to be in the pool area the entire length of the party. AND we told the parents in the invitation kindly that any child that wanted to swim had to have a parent or adult IN the pool with them, if not, there were other water games, a kiddie pool and a water slide for them to enjoy.
Please, please, do whatever you can NOT to become a statistic. Most water safety accidents ARE preventable. Do your part!
~ traci xo
P.S. Of course water toys are fun and even I love playing with the noodles, but they should only be used by someone who knows how to swim and always while being supervised!!!
I’ve heard great things about some of the YMCA programs though I cannot speak to them personally.
Currently, in the SF Valley, we are using http://www.jimherrickswimschool.com.
Call your local ER, ask your pediatrician. Network. If you don’t know where to turn reach out, I’ll help you find someone in your town that will help you find the resources you need to teach your kids to swim.