Have you ever been at the pool and saw that little girl struggling to get the side, wondering where is her parent? Hoping she makes it, finding yourself hyper-focused on this child to the point you cannot relax? Darn it, where are her parents? Then, it happens. She goes under. Not just a little bit, the big go under, and of course not close to the wall. You sprint like you have wings on your feet. And suddenly you pull her to the side, while you notice her mom do the slow walk toward you both. Mom utters a, “thanks,” and takes her child back to the shallow end. While you, are certain you are having a heart attack. Sound familiar?
Congratulations! You, my friend, are an effective water watcher.
We all should strive to become active water watchers when we have little ones with us, or those with health conditions. At least one person in our group should always be in charge of watching those swimming in the pool. Doing a headcount, looking for struggling swimmers in our group, and calling for a time out on a schedule. Here are our tips to help with drowning prevention:
Bringing multiple activities with you to the pool/beach (games, puzzles, books)
Break swimming into the 20/20 rule, 20 minutes in the water, 20 minutes out. This gives the water watcher’s eyes a break and the kids a break. It also gives you a reminder to reapply sunscreen.
Swim in pairs/with a buddy. Never let kids swim alone, it will help the water watcher know if someone is in trouble.
Do not rely on floatation devices unless it is a coast guard approved life jacket.
Rotate watchers, by verbally committing to the changing of the guard, be clear who is “on duty” and for how long. We recommend switching every 20 minutes.
As we swim into summer keep in mind learning to swim is one of the best ways to prevent drowning, but no one is ever drown-proof. Never let even the strongest swimmers swim alone. As always, if you are looking for lessons for your kids this summer, Swim Tutors USA can provide classes for beginner to advanced students.