Swim & Water Safety for Little Learners
Water safety saves lives.
Water play is a great way to cool off and spark learning and fun for your little fish. But it also comes with some serious safety risks. Most recently, The German Lifeguard Association — the world’s largest lifeguard organization — issued a warning to adults on phone distraction.
In the U.S., drowning rates are highest among children one to four, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). And most of drownings occur in home pools.
To make sure Day Early Learning families are in the know of swim and water safety, we compiled some lessons along with a few tips to discuss with little learners from our friends at Indy Parks.
Swim & Water Safety Tips
1. Be Cool, Follow the Rules
Before your child canon balls into the pool, be sure to talk to your them about the pool rules and why they’re important. Here are a few basic, but important rules to remind them of:
- Use walking feet.
- No diving in shallow water.
- Don’t get in the pool or body of water unless there is a lifeguard on duty or an adult who is watching them.
- Never go to a pool alone.
Also, point out any lifeguard stands and first aid stations. Talk to your child about the role of lifeguards and who to go to if help is needed.
2. Supervised Swim with a Buddy
No matter how much experience they’ve had in the water, young children aren’t strong enough swimmers to be on their own. Remind your child under the age of nine to stay within arms reach of an adult at all times while in the pool. Older children should swim with a buddy in a supervised area.
3. Floating Positions
Wrangling your child into the back float may not be easy, but it’s an important skill for them to learn. Before attempting it, explain why it’s so important.
Activities to try:
- Practice different floating positions – Front float, survival float and back float
- Practice breath control – Blowing bubbles while floating
- Practice rolling over from front to back
4. Look Before You Leap
Teach your child about water hazards and to make sure the coast is clear before they jump in. Discuss what children should look for before they jump in to the water. Make it fun and have them look and then jump into the pool while yelling “Look Before You Leap!”
5. Think So You Don’t Sink
Help your child identify safe ways to help themselves if they have trouble in the water. A few examples are:
- If they get too tired:
- What to do: Float and rest on their back before trying to get out and call for help.
- How to prevent it: Rest frequently out of the water.
- If they choke on water:
- What to do: Relax. Tread water or float on their back while coughing.
- How to prevent it: Learn good breath control. Never eat or chew gum in the water.
6. Wear a Life Jacket
Sinking and floating is an early science concept that we talk a lot about in our classrooms. You can use your child’s knowledge of sinking and floating to discuss the importance of a life jacket.
7. Reach or Throw, Don’t Go
Teach your child skills for a safe deck assist if someone else is in trouble. Emphasize why children should not go into the water to rescue someone in trouble. Instead, they can help in other ways such as, by:
- Throwing something that floats to the person in distress
- Using something to extend their reach to reach out to someone and pull them in
- Making sure to get down low, on their stomach, so they won’t be pulled in
- Calling for help
If you have a pool, have your child practice saving someone with equipment.
8. Calling 911
Explain when and how to call 911, emphasizing that 911 is for emergencies only. Use a fake phone and have your child practice calling 911. Role play with your child and pretend to answer the call and ask questions.
For more information on enrolling in swim lessons at Indy Parks locations call 327-PARK or register online at www.indy.gov.
The Day Early Learning Summer Swim and Water Safety Program is made possible by a grant from the Summer Youth Program Fund.