Water can be so much fun. It cools us down, is an awesome summer activity for families with many heading to beach and lake destinations over summer, as well as those who visit local swimming pools. There is so much we can enjoy being around water; swimming, relaxing, fishing, surfing, paddle boarding, jet skiing, boogie boarding, snorkeling - the fun is endless!
However, as we head into the enjoyable, fun, holiday period that is summer, we are also heading into our most dangerous period for being around water.
Water Safety NZ found that drownings for 2019 increased by 24% compared with the year before. This is so concerning and most of these drownings were reported to be preventable.
That is where we come in...
At Fulton Swim School we teach all of it - starting with the life saving skill of being able to swim as well as the awareness and knowledge of what to do to keep everyone safe in and around water. Safety in all water environments; ocean, boat, lake, pool, and bath to name a few, is a key component of our lessons.
Swimming lessons are so much more than being an amazing swimmer. Unlike other sports where we often see our children continue to do them because they’re skilled and want to compete - swimming is more than being the best. Irrespective of your swimming ability and how many lengths you can swim or how fast you are, it can save your life or your children’s lives if they know how to float, tread water or use a survival stroke to reach safety. Swimming lessons provide a life skill and a survival skill.
Rowdy Gaines, three time Olympic Swimming Gold Medalist, says water is a magnet for children and 80% of child drownings happen in front of parents. Baths and spas are particularly dangerous. Supervision around water is always critical but what’s especially important to note is there is an 88% reduction in drowning risk for children if they learn to swim.
Being safe in and around water is achieved with the combination of both supervision and skill. We keep ourselves and our children safe by always watching them around water but also by providing them with the awareness and skill to keep themselves safe. Children are their own first response when they are in water and learning how to swim gives them more confidence and the ability to instinctively keep themselves safe should the need arise.
At Fulton Swim School we start teaching water safety skills from the moment anyone enters the pool. Regardless of their age! These are a key component of our lessons from as young as babies and are adapted to be age and development appropriate through our toddler, school age and even adult lessons. It is never too late for adults to begin swimming lessons as this increases your confidence and ability in the water. As Olympic Swimmer Rowdy Gaines says; ‘even great swimmers have something to learn’.
Our infant and toddler lessons have a large focus on back floating, getting used to rotating in the water and children learning they can move themselves. This is conditioning their brains to instinctively roll onto their backs if they are submerged in water, meaning if they ever accidentally fall into water they know to turn over to breathe and that they can float. We begin this with the baby lessons along with many other developmentally appropriate skills that are mentioned in our blog post ‘When is the best age to start swimming?’
This is why it is crucial that children learn to swim early. We are conditioning them to know how to save themselves in water so it becomes instinct for them. Babies and toddlers have brains like little sponges and absorb everything around them. They learn fast and this is one thing that is critical to learn!
While learning how to save your own life is the most important reason to learn to swim there are also some other important reasons to take swimming lessons:
It’s great for the body! Swimming is a low impact form of exercise that uses the whole body. In particular, it improves coordination, flexibility and balance. Swimming requires the entire body to be able to do it and it doesn’t take long for your children to tire out! It is a fantastic way to incorporate movement into your child’s routine and they get to have fun doing it too! Swimming keeps your child’s heart and lungs healthy, increases stamina and even improves balance and posture.
It’s important to note that once someone learns how to swim they always know how, regardless of their fitness level, which is why it is a survival skill for life.
Swimming is also great for the mind as it increases confidence, improves mood and boosts self esteem. It creates a sense of self security being able to navigate water especially for your child. Learning how to swim early on will reduce a child’s fear of water, which will make pools and beaches a far less stressful environment for both you and them.
It’s fun! So many children love water, love splashing in the bath, playing with containers of water from a young age and even the garden hose. It is a stress relieving and relaxing form of movement and at Fulton Swim School we ensure every lesson, regardless of age and ability is fun. Having fun is a key part of building confidence and being happy around water. It is also the environment which we learn best in. If a child is happy in the water they are going to learn best and what we want them to learn is a survival skill!
It is important to take swimming lessons for a number of reasons; the first and most important being it is a life saving skill we all need, especially living in a country surrounded by water everywhere. Many of our activities and family fun involve water and with that comes the responsibility to both know ourselves as well as teach our children how to ensure that we are all safe. Swimming is also great for our physical body, to create confidence and reduce fear, as well as to have fun with!
At Fulton Swim School we design our swimming lessons to include all of these from our baby lessons through to adults (yes adults learn to swim with us too!).
It is never too late to learn to swim. Too many people panic if they fall into water because they don’t know what to do. Learning to swim gives you and your children the confidence and ability to save your own lives.