Summer brings a lot of opportunity for families to spend time in and near the water. To help us best prepare for it, I reached out to Emily Wyckoff, owner of Goldfish Swim School here in Boise, to give us some insight into how we can keep our families safe. Here's what she had to say:
Drowning remains the number one cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4, taking the lives of three children in the United States every day.
According to Total Aquatics Programming data, the summer months (May-August) account for two-thirds of annual childhood drowning incidents.
What can we, as grownups, do to tackle these statistics and keep our kids safe?
Enroll in Swim Lessons + Practice Basic Moves Before Returning to the Pool:
One of the best ways to protect your children against drowning is to improve comfort level in the water and strengthen swimming capabilities through swim lessons, which have been proven to reduce the risk of childhood drowning by 88%. Lessons help increase muscle memory by practicing basic techniques for kids to use during a water emergency - such as the crab walk along the edge, properly getting in and out of the pool, going under water, rolling on their back, treading water, learning different strokes, etc.
Swap Out Floaties & Puddle Jumpers for U.S. Coastguard-Approved Lifejackets:
Don’t rely on floaties and puddle jumpers to keep your kids afloat. They give children a false sense of security in the water, they can easily come loose or deflate, and they teach children to float in a vertical position which is the opposite of how our bodies actually float. Search for the Coast Guard approval on floatation devices, because it means the lifejacket has met all the regulations that the Coast Guard has set in place as it relates to performance, construction and materials. Pay attention to proper fit too. The fit matters, because if your head or ears can slip down beneath the life jacket, the device won’t be able to work as designed to keep your head above water and allow for proper breathing.
Seek out Bright Colored Swimwear & Properly Fitted Goggles:
When shopping for swimwear, avoid colors that could blend in with the water and choose swimsuits with bright colors instead. They will stand out in the water and make it easier to spot a swimmer in need of help. When shopping for goggles, there’s a couple of factors to look for: make sure they fit around the eye comfortably (the top of the goggle cup should fit under the eyebrow and comfortably seal on the bottom under the eye socket), the nose piece is not too tight or too wide, and the straps easily adjust.
Play it Cool and Follow the Rules:
Sometimes when our little ones are in play-mode, rules fall by the wayside. Review rules together as a family before letting your kids loose to enjoy the water. Pay special attention to pool hours, and always schedule your swims when lifeguards are present, if possible.
Pro tip: Make sure your kids know what to do in a water emergency. Their first instinct may be to go toward the person having trouble in the water. Instead, they should throw or reach for a life preserver of sorts – and don’t go! That way, they aren’t putting themselves in jeopardy as well and are truly able to help.
Designate a Water Guardian:
Make sure to keep your eyes on your kids at all times – even if lifeguards are present. Kids are as curious as they come and are always willing to push the limits without knowing the true hazards. Designate an adult “Water Guardian” and be sure to change guardians every 30 minutes so he/she is alert and refreshed. A Water Guardian’s sole responsibility needs to be keeping an eye on the swimmers. Vigilance is key – no chatting, no checking your phone, no distractions.
Goldfish Swim School, has launched a ‘Safer Swimmer Pledge’ campaign to bring greater awareness to water safety and drowning prevention. Throughout the month of May, families are encouraged to take the pledge and promote the importance of parent-child conversations around water safety.
Visit the Safer Swimmer Pledge landing page or pick up a pledge at Goldfish Swim School. Families can sign up to join the cause in promoting and prioritizing water safety, while also accessing at-home water safety tools and activities.
Those who take the pledge will be entered to win Safer Swimmer Prize Packs, a year of free swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School and a grand prize all-expenses-paid Safer Swimmer Golden Family Getaway*. (The winning family will be contacted directly to coordinate details. Whether it be Disney World, a Caribbean getaway or water park destination, Goldfish Swim School will commit $5,000 to the family’s getaway where they’ll have the opportunity to show off their Safer Swimmer skills.)
Additionally, for each pledge…
Goldfish Swim School will donate $1 to the USA Swimming Foundation, the philanthropic arm of USA Swimming, which supports swim lesson providers with resources, materials and grant funding to allow the opportunity for every child across the country to learn to swim.
Families will also receive a promo code for 25% off any Speedo purchase with an additional 10% giveback to the USA Swimming Foundation.
Supporting this year’s campaign are brand ambassadors like World Champion Swimmer & Olympic Gold Medalist Ryan Murphy, Four-Time Olympic Swimming Medalist & First African American World Record Holder Cullen Jones, who is also the Senior Manager of Sports Marketing and Philanthropy at Speedo USA, and Goldfish Swim School’s official pediatrician Dr. Molly O'Shea of Birmingham Pediatrics + Wellness Center. Together, this rockstar lineup is poised to make incredible strides with Goldfish Swim School in securing even more pledges to help combat the childhood drowning epidemic and make a real impact in communities across North America.
Goldfish Swim School is a leading premier learn-to-swim concept. Goldfish Swim School offers year-round swim instruction for children from four months old to 12 years old, with specially designed lessons for infant and toddler swimming. Classes are offered by specially trained instructors in a safe, child-friendly and fun environment using a research-based philosophy called The Science of SwimPlay®. The Science of SwimPlay® Curriculum is focused on teaching swim and safety skills while building character through guided play. Each school is designed to enhance learning, fun and safety for every child and parent who joins the Goldfish family.
Enroll your swimmer in lessons now at our Boise location! Perpetual lessons and summer Jump Start Clinics are open for registration on our Customer Portal HERE, or by calling our Front Desk at (208) 845-0200. We'd love to have you!