Tag Archives: water

Everyone Should Learn to Swim: Kids, Teens and Yes, Adults…Here’s Why

I’m going to tell you a sad story, but there is a reason for it: A friend lost a grown child to drowning. His son had taken a few swimming lessons as a teenager, but didn’t like the water. He wasn’t a strong swimmer as a result, and one day with friends at a lake, he went in the water, got tangled in some plants, and drowned. He was in his early 20s with a bright future ahead of him, and then this. The family was devastated and it tore them apart.

Why am I leading with such a sad tale? Because summer is almost here and kids need to know how to swim—but so does everyone else.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death for children. But it claims the lives of teenagers and adults too. According to the CDC, unintentional drowning ranks fifth in the U.S. as a cause of death by injury, and of the 10 people on average who die by drowning every day, only two are children: the other eight are 15 years old and older.

My conclusion? Everyone should learn to swim.

It’s not too late
Everyone needs to know how to swim not because we’re all planning beach vacations, but because it is a safety issue. Anyone who boats or kayaks or floats down the river on an inner tube must know how to swim. But what about an accidental fall from a dock while walking around the marina? Or participating in some water-based activity while on a trip? Or or or…? There are many situations that can lead to an unintentional dunk in deep water!

So it’s time to tackle this issue. Although you might think swimming lessons are only available for youngsters, that’s not true. And even if you took some lessons as a child, if you haven’t been in the water in the many years since, you might consider some additional lessons. Just like it’s never too late to install a home security system or start wearing a seatbelt, it’s never too late to learn to swim. Researching this post, I read about a 70-year-old who took swimming lessons!

If you don’t swim or you don’t swim very well, it’s time for some adult swimming lessons. Or if your kids didn’t get lessons and now they’re teens, it’s time to close that safety gap.

Benefits beyond safety
For teens and adults, the benefits of learning to swim can go beyond safety. Swimming is a sport that’s easier on the body than running, and therefore an activity people can continue to do for physical fitness no matter their age. It’s also an activity you can do year-round, as long as you can get to an indoor pool. For those who decide they truly enjoy it, swim leagues provide opportunities for adults to compete in the sport. And for anyone who wants to compete in triathlons, swimming is required.

One final reason everyone should learn to swim
If you’re not interested in being a better swimmer for your own sake, do consider the safety factor of your children. Should your child end up in distress out in the lake while you’re camping, don’t you want to have the necessary skills to be able to swim out and help or even save them? This applies to boating and kayaking and other water sports as well. In addition, children learn more by watching what we do, not doing what we say. The children who see their mom or dad take water safety seriously, including swimming, or more likely to make better, safer choices later in their own life, decreasing the risk of their death by drowning.

As for the sad story at the beginning of this post, I think about that family every year at this time as people start to flock to lakes and rivers and boats to enjoy summer activities. And yes, I need to heed my own advice. I know how to swim but definitely do not swim well. Maybe this is

Review These 4 Pool Safety Reminders Before the Kids Start Splashing

Summer is officially here at last! If your kids haven’t been splashing around in pool water yet, chances are they soon will be. And as part of our ongoing effort to keep you and your loved ones safe and secure, we offer four crucial reminders about pool safety. Just remember to review them before the swimsuits go on and the kids go in!

One: Always keep an eye on your kids when near water, always
Keeping an eye on your children is your responsibility. Period. There might be lifeguards, friends or family nearby, but it’s not their job to keep constant watch, it’s yours. And things can go horribly wrong fast, so put your phone away when poolside. Thinking you’ll quickly glance at your phone and no harm can come from it is misguided. Only looking away for a minute puts your kids at risk. Your phone can wait. Facebook can wait. So can Twitter, Snapchat and every other social media app. Oh, and your email and texts too.

Every year, over 200 young children drown in backyard pools. Constant supervision is a must to prevent these tragedies.

Two: Make sure your kids can swim
It’s not just toddlers and other young children who are at risk of drowning. Tweens, teenagers and even young adults are at risk. I have also heard stories, and I’m sure you have too, of older children and teens drowning. I have a dear friend whose son drowned in his early twenties because he didn’t swim well.

Learning to swim is a lifelong, lifesaving skill, and it’s one your children can begin to learn at any age. They’re never too young nor too old to learn to swim.

Three: Keep kids away from the pool
Because kids are fast and sneaky, you’ll need to make sure your pool cannot be accessed when you’re not around if you have one at home. To do this, you’ll need a 4-foot fence, a gate that can’t be unlatched by kids, and an alarm system that goes off when someone enters the pool.

When you’re away from home but near a pool, you’ll need to rely on constant supervision to keep them safe.

Four: Know, teach and practice pool safety rules…and CPR
Have pool rules such as no diving or running, stay away from the drain, and other rules that make sense for your family, whether these rules are for your pool at home or a public one. Know what to do if someone is in trouble, and definitely know CPR. The Red Cross offers a two-hour online class on pool safety and maintenance that you can find here. Invest the time to review the course. Then go over all of the rules and what to do when something goes wrong with your kids—repeatedly throughout the summer, until it becomes second nature for you and for them.

Private and public pools aren’t the only risks. Kids can also drown in hot tubs, spas and above-ground pools, so follow these guidelines whenever your children are around water, whether that water is in your backyard, at the local park, or at the hotel you’re staying at while on vacation.

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