During the course of the week, I took a phone call from an “inquiring mind” type of client. She asked great questions and had no idea that the person on the other line was the creator of our learning curriculum, me! She asked one question in particular that I really enjoyed answering. Her question was in regard to safety lessons for beginners. When I told her that we teach the swim-float-swim method, she quickly told me that she had heard that that was not the best method of teaching because, as she put it, “what are kids doing so far from the wall anyway that they can’t just turn and reach for it when they fall in?” What she is saying makes a lot of sense. A child falls in, turns around, locates the wall, reaches and voila, he/she has achieved safety! Not so fast.
That is what we call the perfect world and yes, it does make sense, but unfortunately, it could not be further from the truth. When a child falls in the water, the first thing that sets in is panic. As adults know, common sense goes out the door when we panic and kids are not an exception to the rule. In a panic, a child is much more likely to try and swim away from the wall v. swimming towards the wall. In this situation, the turn and reach for the wall method is useless because the child has proceeded to swim into an area of the pool that offers no walls.
The best and really only option for a child to conserve energy and be face up and out of the water is the swim-float-swim method. When I wrote my curriculum, Level 1 or Starfish 1 was never meant to be a lesson plan that got a child back to the wall safely. It was designed to stabilize a child so that a parent has the valuable time necessary, usually seconds if not a couple of minutes, to realize that a child may be in the water unattended and in a compromised position. Many people will tell you that drowning is silent and they are right. But when an infant / toddler is able to get to his /her back, balance their body into a stable position and scream for help, it may be the difference between a happy ending to an event and one that could have ended in tragedy. At Evolution Swim Academy, Starfish 1 is designed to do just that. Fall in, turn to the back, stabilize and scream / cry for help!
Have a great weekend.