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Learning Swimming for the Kids

Posted Sep 16 2012 8:01am
From The Suzette

Few months ago, there was a 5 years old girl drown in a pool in a private club house nearby. When she drowned, that pool was full of swimmers. It was jam packed like Hawaii beach, and there was also a swim lesson going on somewhere ahead. The crowd just didn’t realize there was a drowning girl.

This has lead us to do some research on drowning, and here is some shocking findings, but really worth sharing with all, whether you are parent or not.

I don’t want to re-do what is already a very well-written article here on Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning .

If you are lazy to go through the whole article, here are some highlights (still, the best is to read the whole article for full understanding!)

From the title, yes – most of the people who drown, they dont’ response like the way in movies. They don’t waive their hands and yell “Help!”. They don’t do that, not because they are panic they ‘forgot’ to do, but they just unable to do so. A drowning person will try his best to push himself out of the water, so his hands would be busy doing that push-down action by instinct. And he can’t shout for help because he is just out of breath, he needs to inhale before he could shout. He would, if lucky enough, have enough time to inhale, but not enough time to shout before he is back down into the water again.

So, a drowning person would really look like someone playing in the pool, QUIETLY. Until he is completely gone, he would still be seen as ‘playing’ in the water!

This reminds me of an incident last year in our own pool here. It was also a busy evening, and it was a school holiday so our pool was full of children. My 2 kids were having their swim lesson, whilst our visitor (another 2 gals aged 9 and 10 then) playing water at the side. Both of these 2 visitors did not know how to swim. The 9 yo girl was just tall enough to stand in the pool by top-toeing.

The incident happened when Ian played a prank on her, swam past her with his board knocked her a little. She went off balance a little, then with her hands she was floating up and down.

I was just standing in front of her, I didn’t realize she was actually drowning. She looked completely fine with me. She seems tall enough, she didn’t make any noise. Trust me, she looked REALLY FINE!

Then after a while, my children’s swim instructor suddenly jumped from behind me to pull her out from the water, and looked at me in shock (he quickly regained himself probably remember I won’t know!) and said “She is drowning!!”

After that incident, I insisted that this girl take lesson, otherwise I won’t let her swim in that pool any more. Now she is so good in swimming, can do free style, breast stroke, back stroke, and she is learning butterfly already. She started learning 2-3 years later than my son, but am at the same level as Ian already! Whew!

I would urge all the parents to let your children learn swimming. The girl who drown in the pool (see beginning of this article) does not know swimming. She usually use arm-bands but on the tragic day the family forgot to bring it.

Even if your children already ‘water-safe’ (as in already know how to swim), you will still need to monitor closely. The instructor told me that, in many cases, children drown not because they don’t know how to swim, but they make mistakes (playing dangerous pranks, knock their head or other injuries, etc). Without adult’s supervision, it is just too easy to lose them!

As for what age shall we start swim lesson – I used to be told 5 yo is the acceptable start age, that’s why both of my children started leaning at the age of 5yo.

But this instructor of my children has class as young as 2 yo, which he calls it “Baby Class”. The aim is to train water confidence and buoyancy of the little one. I guess it depends on your affordability and whether you are able to do this yourself. If I can afford, I would love to start training my children from as young as possible. I remember seeing videos of how the angmo train their babies, even from birth!!

I was told that, the younger you start the more water confidence you can build in them and the better stamina they will build over time. The disadvantage is, it takes a much longer time to learn because the young ones do not accept instruction as well as older kids. So ultimately it will burn a bigger hole in your pocket.

The advantage of older kids is that they generally learn faster –> the case of that 9yo girl (now 10 yo already): she learnt less than a year and she is around the same level my son is. My son started at 5 yo, learnt more than 3 years already (but the beginning 18 months was a little wasted, we didn’t have lesson every week due to the lack of commitment of previous coach. Sometimes it was as bad as 1 lesson in 2 months!!)

I am very happy that I’ve found a good coach for my children. I don’t expect them to be swim star, I just want them to be able to enjoy the water, which they really do now! ^_^

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