This post was sponsored by SwimWays as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
For those of you that don’t know, I grew up in Florida. It’s a state known for sandy white beaches, tropical weather, swaying palm trees, tasty orange juice, and the highest unintentional drowning rate (in the nation) for the one to four-year-old age group.† Month after month, year after year, the news reported children drowning in pools, lakes, and canals.
These sad announcements were just something I heard on the news until I witnessed two parents sobbing over their dead child’s body. Their two-year-old toddler drowned in the neighborhood pool after he opened a sliding glass door, walked to the pool, and fell in while his parents slept. I was only eight years old at the time and let me tell you, the sight of a dead child’s body, glaring ambulance lights, and a mother’s sobbing wails are all sights and sounds that I will never forget.
When I had a child of my own, I was determined to teach her how to swim at an early age. With all of the potential drowning risks in Florida, I didn’t want my daughter to become a statistic. I didn’t want to be that sobbing mother I witnessed as a child. I took the responsibility seriously and spent lots of time teaching my daughter how to swim along with the basics of water safety.
Water Safety Tips
- Teach your child basic swimming techniques at an early age (e.g, the doggie paddle). SwimWays has several different tools that can help you with this. Education is always the best prevention.
- Always watch your child around a body of water. Never assume that someone else is keeping an eye on your child (an example would be at a pool party, barbecue, etc.,). Just because there are adults around does not mean your child is being properly supervised.
- If you own a pool or live near a lake or beach, make sure you have child-safety locks on your doors and/or windows. Locks will help deter your child from exiting your home (especially if he or she is unsupervised for brief periods of time). Pools should also be guarded with a locked gate, fence, or safety alarm.
- Teach your child that it is never okay to go swimming alone. One of their friends is not a substitute for a responsible, supervising adult.
Now that my daughter has a child of her own, we are both committed to teaching this cutie (M.) how to swim. M. will be introduced to the water using the SwimWays Baby Spring Float. The cushiony and comfy features of the float will help M. get used to the feel of floating in the water. Available at Target online or in-store, SwimWays gives parents (and grandparents) the tools they need to make water play safe and fun.
Our neighborhood swimming pool opens up in a few weeks and when it does, M. will be trying out the SwimWays Baby Spring Float. I’ll tell you about our experience, and let you know how we liked the float in a separate post (coming soon!).
In the meantime, M. and I will be celebrating National Learn To Swim Day on May 20th. This third Saturday in May is dedicated to educating parents and children about water safety and the importance and benefits of learning to swim. I’ll be lighting a candle in honor of the two-year toddler that drowned as well as all the other children we’ve lost prematurely to drowning. I hope you’ll spend the day educating your children on water safety and of course, having fun at the pool or beach!
If you’d like help teaching your child how to swim, you can find places that offer swimming lessons by visiting USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative. SwimWays contributes financial support to the foundation to help provide free and reduced-cost swim lessons to children in need. How awesome is that?!
If you have kids:
Have you taught them basic water safety tips yet? How old were they when they learned how to swim?
If you don’t have kids:
How old were YOU when you learned how to swim?
†Source: The Florida Department of Health