What is the main reason a parent or carer decides to take their baby, toddler or child to swimming lesson? The resounding answer is ‘To teach them an essential life skill’ – 92% of Puddle Ducks customers cited this as a reason that first made them consider swimming lessons.
Despite all the parents and carers who take their children swimming and the hard work of our 300+ swimming teachers, and all the others through the world, drowning is still the 3rd highest cause of accidental death, with an estimated 360,000 deaths each year. The World Health Organisation have a comprehensive report from 2014/15, which you can read in full here, but broken down by geographic location and age range, drowning is the 5th leading cause of accidental death in 5-9 year-olds in Europe and the 6th leading cause for 1-4 year-olds.
Children’s vulnerability changes with age but those under 12 months are relatively immobile and entirely dependent on caregivers. They can drown very quickly and in very little water, and in containers that may not be perceived as risks (for example, in a bucket or a toilet). Children who are mobile but too young to recognise danger or to get out of water are also at risk, especially in the absence of barriers and capable supervision.
We know there are several reasons why parents/carers can’t always teach their little ones to swim as soon as they would like to, and that’s why we have put together a whole host of information and tips for keeping safe in the water.
We have plenty of resources on our website to answer any questions you may have about water safety, such as:
- Our water safety tips
- Our FAQs
- This blog about swimming whilst on holiday
- We have a Baby & Child Swimming Advice group on Facebook where you can ask questions and join in the discussion
- You can always get in touch with us directly as well
- There are also resources across the internet, such as the RNLI's Respect the Water campaign and this brilliant booklet from the STA.
Teaching water safety and personal survival skills to our babies and children is at the core of our Puddle Ducks Baby & Pre-school and Swim Academy lessons. Most of the activities are related to personal survival although our children just think they are having fun, spending time with their grown up and playing games!
- Monkey Walks teach them how to hold on to the side and move along to a point where it is safe to climb out.
- Blowing Bubbles teaches them how to breath out underwater.
- Cowboy Rides teach them how to hold on to an adult for safety.
- Learning to kick to the surface and turn after jumping in teaches them how to return to safety.
In teaching these skills to your children from as young an age as possible, they become second nature, and if the worst was to happen and they were to fall into water, they would instinctively know what to do.
On top of the personal survival and lifesaving skills that are regularly taught in lessons, as well as the water confidence that is picked up along the way, we hold 3 Pyjama Weeks a year, where swimmers go to their swimming lessons in their PJs. This gives all our swimmers a regular session where the babies/children are exposed to what it might feel like to be in the water with their clothes on. We do not positively encourage our swimmers to jump into the water whenever they can fully clothed – quite the opposite – but we can provide them with the opportunity to see how it would feel to be in the water, following an accidental submersion/fall into water, showing them that they can still swim, practice turning, etc.
We hope there is something in here for everyone – water safety is a universal life skill, not something confined to swimming lessons. Lots of our franchises run water safety talks and dry lesson plans for nurseries, pre-schools and primary schools so please, get in touch if you think your child’s place of education could benefit from a visit from Puddle and the team!