Friday, February 17, 2012

Great Beginnings At United States Swim Academy

Once your child is enrolled in swimming lessons at United States Swim Academy, a great new adventure is about to begin. And while your child's swimming instructor will be in charge of teaching him to swim, there are some things you can do to help us better serve you. It is best to get started early, before your child's first lesson. Here are some tips we find helpful. Follow these and your child will learn quickly and will be much more comfortable at the pool.

  1. Try to arrive relaxed and positive, especially if the experience of swimming lessons is new to your child. She will feel calm and secure and lessons will be more successful.

  2. Have a dress rehearsal at home so your child gets used to swimwear and goggles.

  3. Arrive early so you and your child can become acquainted with the surroundings and will not be flustered or rushed.

  4. Toilet your child just prior to their lesson to avoid accidents and disruption during swimming lessons.

  5. Goggles are a vital teaching aid at various stages of the learning process. They allow for good vision and comfort underwater. It is ideal for children to have their own goggles and arrive ready for class (nose piece and strap adjusted to their individual needs). Goggles can also be used for practice in-between swmming lessons.

  6. The wearing of bathing caps is strongly recommended to keep hair out of the eyes and mouth and to allow goggles to slip on more easily. They also help enormously with filtration and therefore pool cleanliness.

  7. For their own safety, it is essential that children do not enter the pool before or after their scheduled swimming lesson times.

  8. Please stay back from the pool edge while swimming lessons are in progress. It’s great to encourage your child, but try to leave the teaching and discipline to the swimming teacher.
    Bring a suitable ‘hanky’ for wiping the inevitable runny nose. Please use the bins provided for disposal.

  9. For safety reasons and respect for other patrons, ensure your child walks and doesn’t run in the academy.

  10. Finally, be considerate of others. For example, if children are having a shower, make it brief so that other users are not inconvenienced.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Saving Lives: Drowning Prevention

Summer time is fast approaching and our little ones will be taking the plunge more than ever to find relief from that scorching Florida heat. What better time to remind parents of water safety tips?

Florida still ranks highest in drowning deaths for young children. And while the 465 deaths a year is down from past years, we need to remember that there are also those who survive, but with severe brain damage and other serious consequences. There are 556 people hospitalized each year in Florida for near-drowning. One third of these survivors are not so lucky. They will sustain moderate to severe brain damage from the experience. And near-drowning isn’t only devastating to the brain; it can affect every major organ system. More children are surviving drowning due to new methods used in the ER. However, many more children now sustain brain damage.

In order to prevent fatal and non-fatal drownings, we need to know what this event looks and sounds like. Many expect their child to scream out for help and to kick and thrash in the water if they are drowning. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There is no big, obvious warning that a child is in danger. Drowning is usually silent and happens very rapidly.

So, what is the good news? Drowning and near-drowning are completely preventable and parents are the ones who can make the biggest difference. Most drowning in Florida happen in pools (71%), ( most drowning happen when a parent is at home and in charge of the child’s supervision – seems baby sitter are smarter than parents!) when the child is left unattended for just a brief moment. So, let that phone ring. Leave the chores for later. Those few minutes you are out of view of your child can mean the difference between life and death. Drowning takes between two and three minutes and that may seem like a long time, but your quick task can easily turn into a three-minute distraction from your child. Supervision is key. It is recommended that you stay within touch distance of a preschooler in the pool at all times as well.

Other precautions you should take include putting a barrier or gate around your pool, keeping doors with access to the pool securely locked, and making sure you are trained in CPR. And last, but certainly not least, enroll your child in swimming lessons. The National Drowning Prevention Alliance states that they “believe in swimming instruction that includes water safety education.” Swimming lessons like this will teach children water confidence and invaluable skills from a very young age. Children will learn skills they will need to know if they ever fall into a pool. For example, they need to be able to get back to the wall of the pool and learn to roll over and float on their back and swim to the wall.

All of these lessons will be taught in swimming classes that include water safety education. Babies are drowning within reaching distance of the wall, but because they were not trained to turn around – they can’t find safety. For the past 10 years, every baby that drowned in Broward County in a pool drowned next to the wall! This is the reason babies need water safety lessons. When a child is confident about their water safety skills, they do not panic. Instead, they look for solutions. Just like adults, children are problem solvers. Water safety and swim lessons are the tools a child needs to survive. And learning safety skills takes time. You need to start before the summer if you want your child to be safer around the water. Armed with these skills, your child may be able to save her own life until you can reach them. Those few minutes that you look away doesn’t have to be a death sentence. Let a professional teach your child to swim while you make sure to watch him as he does. Together we can save lives.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

New Contest!

Win free swimming lessons for a month at USSA!

How does the contest work?

1. Take a photo of your child kicking and splashing at our pool.
2. "Like" our Facebook page.
3. Post your photo to the wall of our page.
4. Ask Facebook friends and family to "like" your picture. (Friends must be members of Facebook in order to vote)

The more "likes" you get, the more votes you will receive to win!

When is it?

Feb. 1st - March 5th

Good luck and happy swimming! (one picture per child, please)