Happy 4th of July! Here’s wishing you a festive, joyful holiday. To keep safe around the swimming pool today, check out these safety tips. (These tips are good all year.)
- In any emergency, call 911 immediately.
- If your child is missing, always look in the pool before you look anyplace else. A child can drown in twenty seconds. Scan the surface and the bottom of the pool. Search the area around the pool next. If you leave the pool area to continue searching, make sure the pool area is secure before you leave. A wandering child could return to the pool and fall in after you’ve searched there.
- If someone is trapped at the pool’s drain, turn off electrical power right away, before you do anything else. Don’t try to pull the person directly from the suction. Instead, break the suction’s seal by prying between the person’s body and the suction, with your hand if necessary.
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Lots of swimming lessons teach kids the back float early on, but that’s counterproductive. Why?
Why Teaching Kids to Tread Water Should Come Before Teaching Them to Float
Treading water is important for water safety. While many swimming programs emphasize floating, floating is actually a more advanced skill. Although it helps kids to learn the idea of how their body should be positioned in the water—horizontally—their body composition and shape make it very tough for kids to learn to float without moving.
Treading water, on the other hand, is an easy, natural motion for your child. It will give him confidence in the water and help to develop his feel for how his body moves in the water.
While it’s a good thing to learn to float eventually, focusing on floating when your kids are just starting their swimming lessons can leave them demoralized and ready to give up. If they can tread water effectively, they can start to gain the confidence that will help them move on to more advanced swimming skills quickly and easily.
Once your kids have mastered popup breathing, they’re well on their way to being water safe. Here are the final steps of teaching your kids this important swimming skill.
The Next Stage of Teaching Popup Breathing
Explain what you’ll be doing before you start. While you’re supporting his body with an arm under his stomach, have your child glide in torpedo position from one side of the pool to the other. Halfway across the pool, have him push down with his arms and lift his head to take a breath. Hold him as firmly as necessary while he tries it.
Work your way to having him try to pop up for a breath halfway across the pool while your arms are just grazing his belly, providing no real physical support. Then walk beside him while he takes a popup breath on his own.
The Final Stage of Teaching Popup Breathing
Have your child practice pushing off from the side and swimming across the pool to you, stopping to pop up for a breath whenever he needs one.
Gliding in the pool in the streamline or torpedo position, your kids will learn to move through the water in a shape that makes their swimming most effective. Here’s how to teach the skill once you’re in the pool.
Teaching Your Kids to Glide in the Pool
First, practice the position on dry land. Now it’s time to get wet.
In the pool, have your child get into streamline position and then put his face into the water. Help him glide through the water by holding both of his hands and walking backwards.
Getting started moving is the hardest part. When your child is comfortable with having you tow him while he’s in streamline position, have him push off from the step or the side and glide into your arms. Gradually increase the distance of the glide.
Even when your child starts doing glides by himself, stay close, both for his safety and to make him feel secure and confident. Don’t have him try incorporating the kick yet.
Once he’s really comfortable gliding without moving his body, have your child push off from the edge in streamline position and begin to kick. Have him practice until he can move the width of the pool this way.
This skill is gratifying to teach and to learn. It’s the first swimming lesson that starts to look like real swimming, and it’s a huge step toward teaching your kids to be water safe.