June 21, 2013

Safety First When Swimming This Summer

I suppose that part of the reason we have been hitting swim lessons hard this summer is that later this summer we are renting a houseboat with another family. Houseboat + water = anxious mama when you consider that neither of my kids have expressed an interest in swimming.

My son has always had a fear of the water despite taking infant swim lessons. He just could not seem to get past the water in the nose thing. What did we do? Get him a really good snorkel mask and let time play out. Eventually peer pressure and watching his friends swim in the deep end helped motivate him to "want" to swim. So last summer, at age 8, we tried teaching him. Apparently moms and dads aren't always the best teachers, so this spring we dropped him into Jump Start Swim Lessons at Goldfish Swim School Ann Arbor. We decided to give him two more months of lessons - Which he has pretty much progressed out of. I'm shocked at how far he got with just a few lessons. He is now a proficient swimmer in many strokes. Now he just needs to build strength and endurance.

My daughter used to LOVE the water, swimming like a fish. Eventually though she gave in to her brother's fear and stopped putting her face int he water. What?! So this spring she too dove into lessons. She's still a beginning swimmer, one I am likely to continue lessons for, however I feel much better about her being on the houseboat. We're still likely to keep her life-vest handy though!

Kids taking swim lessons is one of the best ways to help them combat a fear of the water
while swimming more confidently and safely.
 Next week is Safety Week at Goldfish Swim School, where the kids will have an additional 5 minutes of safety instruction with their lessons. However swimming safely is an important topic, especially this time of the year, so I'd like to share the following swimming safety tips from Goldfish Swim School. More details can be found at their Safe Summer Swimming blog post.

It's common knowledge, but we all need to remember to use the buddy system, never swimming alone! Even at a public pool where there is a lifeguard, your child should have a buddy with the same skills. This allows the children to swim together keeping tabs on one another. If the buddy gets out to use the bathroom, both buddies should. With that however it also bears repeating that parents should also maintain constant supervision when they their children are at the beach or pool.

Knowing the rules is an important step in water safety.Make sure your kids know water safety rules or don't allow them to swim. Remind them, and remind them often. They should know where they can and can not swim at the beach or pool, swimming only in designated areas. They should know who will be watching them, and finally they should be fitted with a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. We have our own life jackets that we take everywhere. Kids should know how to properly wear them and parents need to check often. Remember kids grow, so checking the fit of the life-vest at the start and throughout the summer season is important.

Last summer I found my neighbors toddler after he had escaped their yard and scaled my fence. I found him in our small inflatable pool. What would have happened if I found him unconscious in the pool? It's something that made me stop to consider the surroundings of our pool. Each family needs to make sure their backyard pool, even small inflatable ones, are properly outfitted for safety, it's the law!

Did you know that in 2012 drowning was the leading cause of death in children age 1-4? Swim lessons can help, and actually are known to reduced instances of drowning in that age of child. Making sure your child is comfortable in water, knows how to remain calm and get help can save lives. Making sure your child is comfortable in the water and prepared will assure everyone in the family will have an enjoyable time in the water, whether that is in the pool, lake, river or stream! 

Want to know more about safe summer swimming? Be sure to visit the Goldfish Swim School blog, or better yet, head over to the Goldfish Swim School Ann Arbor (2107 W Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor) and sign up for lessons. While they are on the pricier end of swim lessons, the outcome far super-cedes the cost. I am very pleased that we did and wouldn't go anywhere else now for our swim lessons. I am now more relaxed, and looking forward to our time later this summer on the houseboat!


  1. I used to take my daughter to the Goldfish Swim School, and I personally witnessed how a little boy who was taking a class slipped under water and NO one, repeat, NO one, noticed. The teacher only noticed when I started screaming (I was on the side of the pool observing my daughter's class), and then pulled the boy out of the water. This was essentially our last day at the Goldfish. It is an incredibly unsafe place for young kids, as there are up to 4 kids in each class, and the teacher takes them individually to swim. While he takes each child, the teacher loses sight of the other children in the class, who are waiting inside the water sitting on an underwater platform. The boy slipped from this platform to the bottom of the pool when the teacher was not looking. Terrifying and unacceptable. I would not recommend the Goldfish to any parent.

    1. I'm sorry to hear about your experience.

      I have been to a couple parties there (which tend to be crazier) as well as having my children in swim lessons. I have seen a big change in my children and have never had anything but positive experiences. My children have come farther with their confidence and swimming skills than ever before.