4 min read
Some parents choose to delay the start of their little one’s swimming education, and think that their backyard pool will suffice in their aquatic development more than structured classes. Having a backyard pool should be even more incentive to get a child into a Learn To Swim program, as data shows the highest drowning rates are in urban swimming pools.
It is known that unintentional drowning varies with age, and that children between the ages 0 – 4 are more likely to drown in pools, bathtubs/toilets/buckets and falling into open water (lake, river, pond). Research shows the drowning event was least often witnessed in the 0 – 4 year old age group, as no-one was around when the child fell into the water. There is no splashing and screaming, toddlers just sink very fast.
Tragically the typical scenario is that, when the child is discovered and retrieved from the water, a resuscitation might be possible. The emergency services are called and life saving care given, however once admitted to hospital the child dies. An average of 30 children over the past 10 years, under the age of five drown each year in Australia.
But with many unfortunate accidents occurring in Australian waters for kids aged 0-17, it’s easy to see why structured classes are important in our water-loving nation. Most children age 4 years and older can learn to swim, at the very least propel themselves to the surface and get to the edge to hold on or find a step to get out. Many incidents occur when children are left in the water unsupervised, so having your child take part in swimming lessons will provide them with a protective barrier against an unfortunate occurrence.
Actively supervising babies and toddlers means holding them in water and never being out of arms reach near the waters edge. Don’t rely on water wings, foam vests or noodles to keep children safe. Young children can drown in as little as 25 seconds, when near water Ignore your PHONE.
A common questions asked by parents is “when should my child start swimming lessons?” A better question to ask is “Which swimming club should we start at?” Many swim programs offer lessons from baby to adult. As a mother to 3 girls I learnt CPR and did a basic First Aid course for children, I can highly recommend doing this, when it comes to drowning doing something like chest compressions, mouth breathing and the basic ABC is always better than doing nothing.
Given Australia’s beach-loving lifestyle, the likelihood that a child will be exposed to a water environment is very high. If you live near the beach or lake, or lucky enough to have a pool, you already have a good reason for wanting your kids to be confident in the water from an early age. However, it is recommended that your child begins independent swimming lessons around the ages of 3-4 years for a variety of reasons.
At any time that you’re concerned about your child, trust your instincts and call the doctor and health services. If your child is ever battling to breath head straight to your nearest emergency room.
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