It’s been a scalding hot summer and as we continue to sizzle in the scorching sun, the temptation for families to beat the heat with a seaside break is a great one. And cooling off in a resort pool or splashing about in the refreshing ocean with your kids is not only a fun bonding activity but also teaches basic water skills that could save little lives.
Sadly, on average one child drowns every week in Australia (with nearly two-thirds of these under-fives), according to figures from the Royal Lifesaving Society of Australia. But with appropriate precautions and training, drowning accidents can be avoided. Your kids can start learning water skills from as early as three to six months old and it’s important to keep swimming training up even in the cooler months.
To find an accredited swim school close to you, visit http://www.austswim.com.au/welcome.aspx or www.swimaustralia.org.au. Personally, I’m a huge advocate for parents completing a child first aid course or, at the very least, learning resuscitation so they can respond quickly in the event of an accident. Visit www.stjohn.org.au or www.royallifesaving.com.au to find a course near you.
Here are a few other watery tips for your little fish to ensure your seaside holiday goes swimmingly.
Make water fun. You can help your baby learn to love the water and the basics of swimming at home in the bath by splashing and playing with bath toys. Try some simple exercises like laying bub on his back with his head on your shoulder and encouraging leg kicking and teaching him to blow bubbles.
Keep littlies warm. Use heated swimming pools to ensure baby doesn’t get too cold. If your tot starts to shiver, get him out of the pool immediately and wrap him up warmly. Dry baby off in the pool area as soon as he leaves the water and dress him in warm dry clothes.
Kit up. Make sure you take a swim kit with a couple of favourite bath toys to amuse bub in the water, a towel (the ones with the built in hood are awesome) swimming and regular nappies and dry warm clothes. Make sure you also pack a few healthy snacks, water and milk, because bub might be hungry and thirsty after all that splashing.
Disposable swimming pants are a great investment. Designed to hold accidents in and not swell like regular nappies, they’re the most hygienic way for a baby to enjoy swimming in a public place.
Make sure your children are ALWAYS supervised near water and if your little one has a cold or even seems a little off colour, avoid swimming until they’re well.