May 22, 2019

Safety In H2O

There are so many tragedies that deal with water (this I know from personal experience). The devastation of something that kids find fun can quickly turn scary and deadly. This is not a subject I ever thought about discussing until it happened to someone I know!

Little Fins Swim School is owned by Lauri and Jack (sister/brother team) and they are both passionate about this subject…along with all of the members of their families…actually, most of their family work there and help with all sorts of things from administrative duties to teaching lessons.

Lauri is fiercely passionate about drowning prevention. Did you know that drowning is THE leading cause of death in children ages 1-4, and it is the 2nd leading cause of PREVENTABLE death in children ages 1-14? So why are we more concerned about our children eating peanuts than their safety around water?

We are warned by other moms about dangerous things, we are warned by family about dangerous things, we are warned by doctors about all the dangerous things our kids can get into…allergies, electrical outlets, sharp table edges, bugs, the list goes on. Why don’t the people who warn us about allergies and electrical outlets and bugs and colds, warn us more about the leading cause of death in children? I was not even aware of the statistics of water casualties in children until I sat down and chatted with Lauri about it.

Kids can start as early as 2 months old in mommy and me classes, and at 6 months Little Fins begins infant survival training. Babies are extremely buoyant, they have air between their cells, which enables them to learn to float in the water. Not only are babies (fresh out of the womb) naturally comfortable in the water, they are physically are built for it! Starting your kids young can be super scary, BUT it is arguably WAY better. Lauri explained that when babies are 6 months old (and younger) they have no fear of the water yet,  they are more buoyant, and they learn much faster.

This is a gift you can give them- teaching your child to save their own lives is not only a survival tool but a lifelong skill.  Educating everyone and people who are advising parents that this is PREVENTABLE…it’s not new but it’s only recently gotten more attention. Little Fins teaches infant survival swimming techniques and uses the SWIM-FLOAT-SWIM method. This is specialized swim training, with highly trained instructors. Swimming lessons are great, no matter what, but some programs cater more towards technique and not survival. Lauri emphasizes that no matter what, swimming lessons should teach kids to appreciate water, and understand basic safety at Little Fins, FIRST, they teach them to survive and understand the water, and, THEN they teach them to swim. Seems like common sense right? But when I think about swimming lessons, I think about different strokes and diving, not safety in the water. There are ALL different ages of people that are terrified of water- it is NEVER too late to learn to survive in the water.

At Little Fins, eventually, kids pass a safety level and have to option to be tossed in (or jump in) fully with clothes on., Accidents happen, and often it’s not when you are fully prepared in proper swim gear, especially in Colorado. This can freak parents out, but once the kids have gone through lessons and passed the first level, it is a great thing to add that extra weight, and the real-life scenario of possibly falling into a body of water fully clothed (shoes and all), and obviously they are within arms reach of an instructor just in case.  The survival skills they have learned kick in, and it becomes second nature! It’s an amazing thing to watch! When they threw my son in the first time, my heart fell but it made me so happy to know that he could calm down enough to save himself!

Children drown right by the edge and our natural instinct is to push away. At Little Fins they teach to grab on to the side and hold on for dear life, instead of the instinct of pushing away. Movement and exit are big strategies that they work on continually.

This happens so much more than people realize…when that statistic was told me, it hit me like a ton of bricks! How can we help our kids…especially not being around pools and bodies of water all the time? Teaching them survival basics is essential. Not that we take our eyes off of our kids while they are swimming, but the pressure and anxiety of being at their side every second won’t cripple us during the summer, and at indoor pools during off seasons.

Drowning is quick, silent and not like the movies. Their instructors are not JUST swimming instructors, they are saving lives.

Take a look at Little Fins, or find a swim school in your area that teaches survival swimming, and find out how it can help your family fight the leading cause of death in children:

Thanks for taking the time to read about this subject that has been heavy on my heart…I am so thankful I found Little Fins and I hope you are too 😉


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