Written by: Valérie Labonté-Côté
Directrice de la programmation, École de natation à domicile Aquadémie
1) Pool safety
Summer is here. Have you started your pool yet? Maybe with some luck you even had the chance to dip your toes in the water! To make the most out of your summer, make sure your pool meets all safety standards and regulations. We all know that kids are good at running around. Lose your attention for a second and your child is far away picking a flower in the garden or jumping in the water on a hot sunny day! For that reason some preventive measure in your backyard installation. First, toys should be removed from the pool after each swim. Keeping toys inside the pool can be like a magnet for kids to play in it. Make sure every access to your pool is protected all the time by securing the access with a gate, a fence and locked ladders. Have some lifesaving rescue materials within reach, such as a pole, buoy, life jacket or any other flotation device. Psst… They can be great games as well. You know that monkey game with the pole or some kind of a buoy stroll!
For any further information regarding home safety regulations and tips, refer to your municipal pool regulations or consult the following link: http://www.baignadeparfaite.com/fr/inaccessibilite, a complete resource made by the Canadian Lifeguard Society, where you can find all the necessary information.
2) Water safety behaviour and habits
At the beginning of summer, make sure some rules and habits are established and respected. It is useful to build certain routines with your child before entering the pool (songs, little games, showering, sunscreen lotion, etc). Those rituals can form habits that will stop your child from entering the water without following those small steps. Inform your child of all dangerous behaviour around the pool, such as unsupervised swimming or diving in shallow water. Mommy and Daddy too have their safety behaviour to stand by. Always keep your little swimmers in sight and never leave them alone, even for a second.
3) Make sure all members of the family are comfortable with the basic swim technique
All kids should acquire some basic water skills so that they can move around the pool safely, as well as all responsible adults. The minimal skills needed to survive unexpected situations are the following, according to the lifesaving society’s program “Swim to survive”. 1) Be able to swim 50 meters without any rest. 2) Tread water for 60 seconds. 3) Roll into deep water. These are the minimal skills required to be considered safe in the water. Once you have mastered those techniques, you can perfect other skills like endurance, safely entering and exiting the water, underwater swimming and turning over for a back float. Increasing confidence in the water makes your poolside days enjoyable and safe!
4) Swimming skills you can practice at home to accelerate the learning process
To get even more out of your summer, try practicing some swimming skills with your little ones. The truth is, the most difficult part in the learning process is breath control. Take little steps so your child will feel more comfortable. First, blow bubbles from the mouth and then the nose. Once those two steps are successfully accomplished, try to make you child immerse his or her face in the water. From there, you’ll be able to add float, leg kick and windmill arms. A great trick to make your child swim horizontally is to put his or her eyes and forehead in the water facing the bottom of the pool while kicking with straight legs. The use of floating devices can have some negative repercussions on proper kicking. Being used to floating vertically, your little one will most likely kick from the knees instead of a straight kick, which can make it harder for him or her to swim horizontally. Once your child is able to swim forward with eyes in the water and a basic straight kick, you can then add windmill arms. Practice makes perfect.
5) Learn the difference between different swimming devices
A quick way to teach your child how to swim is without any swimming devices. The learning process is faster and prepares your child to react accordingly in the event of an emergency. However, for recreational purposes, any child that hasn’t mastered the basic swim strokes described previously should wear a floating device. The best fit for leisure swimming is a lifesaving jacket and/or a personal floating device. Don’t forget to always wear a lifesaving jacket when you are in a boat or in open water! Even if you’re a great swimmer, keep yourself safe and avoid any accident due to an unforeseen event. So rock that summer style and wear your lifesaving jacket proudly!
6) Make sure an adult is responsible for supervising the swimmers
During the get-togethers most adults are supervising without really supervising, assuming that somebody else is watching too. At the beginning of the party, assign a responsible adult that will be in charge of supervision. Even if it seems obvious, choose an adult that knows how to swim and preferably is familiar with CPR and First Aid. Even better, you could hire a lifeguard who will be in charge of supervising the pool, while you can enjoy your party carefree!
7) Know First Aid and have an action plan in case of emergency
Ask your city center about First Aid and CPR training. Don’t forget to stay up-to-date with your certifications and necessary knowledge. Always keep a phone and a First Aid safety kit within reach of your pool installation. Establish at the beginning of summer an action plan in case of emergency. In any new aquatic installation you visit with your family, don’t forget to do a quick tour with your children, showing them where they can safely swim and whom to reach if needed. Ex: in a public pool, show your children a lifeguard station and talk about the lifeguards’ duties. Inform your children that their role is to insure a safe swim and they’re welcome to ask for their help if needed.
8) Jump in and enjoy your summer with your family
Don’t be those parents that stay on the side as they watch, just jump in and have some ‘soaking’ fun!
Invest in your child’s safety by enrolling in our at-home accelerated swim learning program now. Keep your child safe this summer, contact Aquademie swim school to book your private swimming instructor. www.aquademie.ca