May 13, 2011

Swimming Towards a Life Saving Graduation ...

The numbers don’t lie … according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevents there were 3,443 fatal unintentional drowning in the United States in 2007. Another 496 people died from boat-related drowning and other causes. The CDC states that more than one in five fatal drowning victims are children 14 and younger. Do the math.

No parent should have to say goodbye to their child in such a finite manner, but to have the cause be preventable is unbearable.

As new parents prepare to safeguard their curious off spring, the list can get overwhelming. From baby gates to cabinet locks, from toilet guards to cushioned furniture corners, parents attempt to safely usher their little tyke from infancy, to toddlerhood, to teen years. Regular doctor visits, dental trips, countless Band-Aids, and antibiotics and pain relievers become the center of which the world revolves. Despite the best intentions, early childhood awareness of water is not often at the forefront of parents minds.

Many put it off for a variety of reasons- too expensive, not enough time, don’t have a pool, or the thought they’ll be near their kids at those crucial times. Many think it is a safety measure that can be dealt with when a child is older, more independent such as Preschool age or older.

But water safety is essential to saving their lives. A child can drown in as little as one-inch of water and for the parents who face this tragedy find little comfort in knowing it was on the to do list.

According to the CDC, here are the alarming facts:
• 1 in 4 fatal drowning accidents involve children 14 and under.
• For every child that dies, another 4 are treated in the emergency room for submersion-related accidents, some of which cause permanent brain damage.
• From 2005 to 2007, there were an average of 283 fatal drowning for children 5 and under per year. An additional 2,100 were treated in the emergency room for submersion related injuries.

At what point do parents get the message. It’s never too early to introduce your child to water survival. One organization that is getting the word out to parents is Infant Swimming Resource
. For more than 40 years this nationwide organization has dedicated itself to the purpose of “Not One More Child Drowns.”

Jamie started their 5-day a week program this week. On the first day I was apprehensive, nervous as I handed my child to the instructor, Harvey Barnett. No parent wants to place the life of their child into someone else’s hands, but the reality is that we do it every day. When we take a sick child to the doctor, put them on a school bus or send them to a friend’s house we essentially place the safety of our child into someone else’s care, many times without a second thought.
My fears were relieved as I sat beside the pool, silently encouraging Jamie to trust the instructor as another sat beside me explaining each step of the process. I’m sure if I needed it she would have held my hand, but I’m an Army wife, I take it one breathe at a time.

One breathe at a time is how Jamie did it too and by the end of the 10-minute, one-on-one lesson, he was floating on his back for 10, even 15 seconds. The next day he was swimming in short spurts. Though each child progresses differently, it showed me how much of a “fish” our Little Monkey is!

Now, as our first week concludes I am certain that this “baby” step that we took in enrolling him in swim lessons is a good one. At the end of the program I am sure that I will be just as proud of his “graduating” and I will be when he completes kindergarten, high school and college … and in my mind, I’m convinced that this graduation will help ensure the other ones will take place.

Until our next cup of tea ...

3 Tea Party Guest:

Vee said...

He's so cute! He looks like a natural in the pool.(I went with my sister to the Y where my nieces were trained to swim starting at 6 months of age. Their paternal grandparents had an inground pool and that was the concern. They both learned quickly and still love to swim today. There was one instructor who taught the parents to teach the children. I'm sure that methods have changed a lot through the years.)

Sue said...

Thanks for the great post. Parents (and grandparents) can never learn enough about programs like this. Laurie put Kasey in a learn to swim program last winter at the Y and he loved it. He is six years old, but I think it gave him a healthy respect for water - it's fun, but even more fun when a child can enjoy it safely.
The pics of Jamie are absolutely wonderful. He is adorable.
Blessings my friend,

ancient one said...

I love this post and I agree that Jamie seems to be a natural at this swimming thing. You are a good mama!!!