Monday, June 25, 2012

A Close Call

This is a letter sent to us from a USSA family:

It was just another family day in our pool, with Lily sitting on the stairs playing with her water toys. Since starting swim lessons Lily has become more adventurous, and on that day, decided she wanted to float on a raft with her sister. We were excited! While drifitng in the center of our pool, with daddy close by, her older sister playfully flipped the raft and Lily went under and instantly began to sink. In a state of PANIC I was ready to jump in and my husband wasalready swimming to her.

What happened next still has us speechless! That is when we saw Lily pop-up out of the water for air and frantically look for the stairs. Lily then put her arms straight out in front of her (that is the "superman" glide she learned!). She began kicking vigorously until she reached the stairs. Keep in mind it was half the length of
of our pool! Once she was safe, she began coughing for she obviously swallowed water. To our amazement she NEVER cried! When we asked Lily if she was okay, she said yes and went right back in the water! Really?!

My husband and I were in shock! Our Lily used to cry in the bath tub if you splashed water on her face. Now she has the confidence to swim! The fact that she applied what Coach Diane taught her (in under 10 lessons) when in a state of PANIC no less...has my husband and I convinced that what Lily has learned at the US Swim Academy is PRICELESS!!

Since this incident and further lessons with Coach Diane, Lily has a new found passion for swimming. It is going to make this summer all that more fun for our family.

I am sharing this story with all parents so they can see that lessons are a necessity and that they DO work!!
The confidence and trust that Coach Diane has established with our daughter is amazing and has meant so much to us all. We will always be grateful.

Thank you forever, US Swim Academy!!!

The DaGrosa Family
Lily (3 years old)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sooner Rather Than Later

“I was amazed last week when I had girls over to swim from my daughter’s girl scout troop. Many of these girls had to wear water wings because they couldn’t swim. Their mother’s didn’t even get in the water because they couldn’t swim. I tried to work with the girls and help them and eventually we took off the wings, but some of them need lessons. I really need to find a way to incorporate this into a scout lesson in the fall and get these mother’s in the water as well. I will look for a service that can help us.”

This is a concerned mother’s comment on an article in the Sun Sentinel about the signs of drowning. We have all probably noticed this phenomenon of children not knowing how to swim. The next logical question that should come to mind is: Why? Why don’t they know how to swim yet? Why aren’t these parents enrolling their children in swim lessons?

But, before we go into the why of the matter, let’s look at a different why. Why does it matter that kids get swim lessons? “According to a 2009 study conducted by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Heath and Human Development, children who participate in formal swimming lessons are less likely to drown. The study found that among 61 children ages 1—4 who had died from drowning, only three percent had ever taken formal swimming lessons. By contrast, 26 percent of the children in the general population had received some type of formal lessons. In addition, parent interviews reflected that only five percent of the swimmers who drowned could float on their back for 10 seconds, while 18 percent of those who didn’t drown could float for at least 10 seconds.”

And there are several possible answers to the question of why parents aren’t signing their kids up for swim lessons. But, none of them justify the decision to postpone swim lessons for your child. For some parents, it is just a matter of laziness. They just haven’t gotten around to it, like anything else on their long lists of things to do as a parent. But, this one needs to be moved to the top of the list. We are talking about our children’s lives here.

Cost may be another issue that is keeping parents from getting their children in swim lessons. I’m not going to go into much detail on that reason here, because I have already written a whole piece on it. You can read it here.

Some parents may also be worried for health reasons. They may be wary of the chlorine in the pool affecting their child’s skin, breathing, or allergies. But, it would take an extreme amount of exposure to become a health risk.  Parents might also think children could ingest too much water and that this could also lead to health issues. But, today’s instruction methods are much gentler; children are no longer being plunged into the water at most pools.

Others may also have had bad experiences and may have been scared off of lessons all together. I know that this is the case for me. I am ashamed to say, especially as someone who works for a swim school, that my children have yet to have ongoing swim lessons. And this is mostly due to a bad experience a few years back with an old-school instructor.
But, I am proud to say, my kids are starting swim lessons tomorrow! Better late than never. But, I wish I had started years ago and not given up. My children would be much safer around water and I wouldn’t have to worry as much as I do when they are near water. Summer hasn’t even officially begun and we have already had two days at a pool and one at the beach. These kids need to know how to swim!

So, if you haven’t enrolled your child in swim lessons, think about the reasons. And decide if these reasons are really valid and important enough to postpone teaching your child life-saving skills.