Saturday, July 4, 2009

Pool Safety

I've mentioned before String Bean's intense fear of swimming. She's only 19 months old, but being near a pool is the most frightening thing for her. How do I know? Well, the crying, screaming and clinging onto whichever body part of mine is closest is a hint.

I've heard a lot of talk about pool safety this summer. I've even had friends suggest to me to enroll String Bean in an infant swimming resourse course. If you are not familiar with this program, go to their website and watch the video. After looking at their marketing videos on the site, you probably are like me thinking, "Wow, what a great idea to keep my kid safe from drowning!" At least that's what I thought until I did some reading.

I checked out a book on infant swimming from our library. While reading it, they referenced this program and I was disturbed. They teach children to float in the water (good) to prevent drowning (good) by simulating drowning (uh....hello?). In short, the instructors dunk your kid under the water and roll them over repeatedly teaching them to right themselves so they can float on their back. The result is a screaming kid (which is exactly what you want them to do when they are floating in a pool without an adult in sight) who is scared to death because of the water they are in. Seems counter productive to me.

String Bean already has that fear of the water! Why would I enroll her in a course that forces her to "simulate" drowning so she can float? We don't have a pool. None of our close friends have a pool. This just isn't a program that would be beneficial to us.

I had a friend post a video of her kid doing the infant resource swimming recently. His screaming and crying throughout the video was too much for me. I turned it off before it was halfway over and after 3 separate dunkings.

The best pool safety tip I have heard this year? Designate a special seat for the adult who is in charge of watching the kids in the pool. Whomever is in this chair is not to be disturbed. No talking to them. No radio. No anything. Every 15 minutes trade with another adult. That way, everyone can enjoy the pool and kids are being carefully watched every second.

For the mental health of my child, we will not be enrolling in Infant Swimming Resources courses. We'll do the gradual introduction instead, which begins with a bucket of water and the hose in the backyard.

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