How can I know whether my young child is ready to play in the swimming pool safely? What are some ways I can prepare them to be more careful around water? If you have ever had these questions, you’re in the right place.
Why is water safety important?
In Singapore, drowning is the main cause of death and injury for children from the ages of 1-4 (Healthhub). The speed with which a drowning incident could occur, without us even noticing it happening, is a scary prospect, especially for parents of young children.
However, with proper water safety training and enough caution exercised, there is nothing to fear.
How should my child be playing safely in the water?
Here are 4 key indicators of your child’s water safety:
1. Ability to enter the water safely and to hold on to the wall for safety.
Since it is not always easy to tell how deep a pool of water is from the surface, it is crucial that your child knows how to enter the pool via a “slide-in entry”. It is also important to make sure that your child knows how to hold on to the sides of the pool wall and can do so confidently. (Do be extra cautious if the pool has raised or smooth walls that do not offer any holds.)
How to do a slide-in entry
Step 1: Sit on the poolside.
Step 2: Turn onto tummy and enter water legs-first while holding onto the wall.
(Your child should always enter the water while facing the wall and in close proximity with it, so that they can easily grab the wall if required.)
2. Able to submerge their entire head in the water
In the event that your child accidentally falls into the pool, the risk of them drowning is minimized if they do not panic while fully submerged in the water. It starts with your child knowing how to hold their breath while underwater, before progressing to blowing bubbles. As they get more confident, they will eventually be comfortable to exhale entirely while submerged and staying calm even with empty lungs!
3. Moving independently in the water
Your child’s hands and feet may still be very small, but they can be powerful paddles propelling your child in the direction they want to go. Knowing how to move around in the water is useful in increasing your child’s comfort level in the pool, and in their swimming proficiency. Learning how to paddle and kick early will help them develop good water feel which is an important skill in swimming.
4. Knows how to stay afloat
Swimming continuously can get tiring, especially for younger children. Knowing how to rest while floating is an important skill for your children to master. They simply have to roll onto their backs and float while catching a breath before continuing their swim or shout for help and wait to be rescued. (This is a good skill to test your child’s water confidence as well.)
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So the next time you head down to the pool with your child, keep an eye out for these four skills. If they do not have these skills yet and you would like to enjoy your pool time without getting wet, consider sending your child for swim lessons.
At Red Dot Penguins, we accept toddlers from as young as 30 months old into our group swim lessons. We’ll teach these skills so you’ll soon find yourself with a happy, confident and safe water baby!