When I was just a wee babe (3 months I believe) my parents taught me how to swim; by the age of 2, I was running and jumping the pool all by myself, effectively giving my parents friends heart attacks before I swam safely to the pool steps. I still have memories of the smell of the pool, the feel of the warm pebble pool deck on my feet and the sound of the pool gate opening and closing. From this experience, swimming is one of my favorite things and I have always felt safe and comfortable in the water.
Now that my son is here, I want a similar experience for him. Especially since we live in Seattle and we’re surrounded by open water, his safety is the first thing on my mind. I’m all for letting babies, toddlers and children learn by making mistakes, but drowning is a mistake they cannot recover from. Drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years (CDC 2005). Having your children wear life jackets whenever they are in the water recreationally only gives them a false sense of security, so that one second you are not watching them, they may feel safe enough to jump in and find that they actually cannot swim.
So what IS the answer? I’m sure everyone has different opinions on the matter, but I will be training my children to swim as fast as they can learn. There are so many benefits to swimming with my baby that I want to be a part of our life. On this blog, Miss Bea shares her swimming stories and guidance. You can find her on Facebook too.
I am teaching my Son to swim using the knowledge passed down from my parents. I figure they taught me so they know what they’re doing. The first time we went, my dad came with and he was the first to dunk my son in the water. Here is the detailed method of how to do this, shared by Miss Bea: “Blow like a gentle gust of wind onto the baby’s face. If the baby takes in a gulp of air and makes a funny face, then you will blow on the baby’s face before putting him under the water and watch him hold his breath. Follow these steps. After the baby is comfortable and playful in the water, hold the baby under the arms facing you, and make eye contact with your baby. Count to three to set the signal, blow quickly on the child’s face, and watch the child make the funny face then smoothly and gently lower the baby’s head completely under the water for one second.” From here you gradually increase the amount of time they are under water, eventually they swim from adult to adult. Read more on her site.
I want to be perfectly clear: I’m not recommending that you do this particular method with your babies. I am only sharing my experience and information I have found for our own swimming journey. I feel 100% confident that I am making the right choice for my child and would not be doing so if I felt at all that he did not enjoy the water.There are many Infant/Parent swim classes that have a wide range of methods in teaching your child to swim. I believe the earlier they become acquainted with the water, the better.
How do you feel on this topic and what are your plans to teach the important matter of water safety?