To help parents determine if their children are knowledgeable of basic water safety skills, the US Swim School Association (USSSA) has created a basic safety guideline parents can use to evaluate their children at the start and end of the summer pool season. USSSA also reminds parents that enrolling their children in year-round swimming lessons is one of the first defenses in drowning prevention. Even if children can complete the following tasks, year-round lessons can help children maintain their swimming skills and build strength.
• Flip and Float. Any time a child enters a body of water unexpectedly, he or she should know to first reach the surface then flip onto his or her back and float until help arrives.
• Find the Side. If your child accidentally falls into a pool, she should know how to swim to the side, and either pull herself out of the water or move along the wall to the stairs where she can safely exit.
• Do a Clothes Test. Children might be successful swimmers in their goggles and swimsuit, but if you have a backyard pool, there could be a situation where your child falls into the pool fully clothed. To help your children know how to react and judge their skill level in a situation like this effectively, under your supervision, have them jump into the pool with clothes on and swim to the side.
• Throw, Don’t Go. When asked what they would do if a friend or sibling is struggling in the water, children should know to not enter the water. Instead, after calling for help, they should look for a device that can reach into the water, such as a pool noodle, a foam ring, or even a large stick the struggling person can grab and hold onto while being pulled to safety.
• Take a lap. If you have a backyard pool, it is a good idea to test your child to make sure he or she can swim a full lap of the pool. This will inform you if your child can swim far enough to reach the side or a step to exit the pool no matter where he or she falls in.
To find a USSSA affiliated swim school near you, or for details on becoming a member of the nation’s leading swim school organization visit www.usswimschools.org.
US Swim School Association (USSSA) is the largest swim school association in the country with 400+ members providing swim and water safety instruction to 500,000+ students each year. Parents and students can rest assured they have chosen a top school when they choose a USSSA affiliated location. For more info., visit www.usswimschools.org.