Kids and Kayaking: Infant Swimming Resource

Infant Swimming Resource logoIntroducing kids to kayaking is one of the most rewarding things I have done.The activity refreshes my love of nature as I see things fresh through their eyes.And being outdoors helps everyone “live deliberately” Henry David Thoreau

This is one of the reasons why I entered my son in an Infant Swimming Resource class.  I wanted him to react calmly and safely in the water in the event of an accidental immersion.

Cindy is my son’s instructor. My son at the time of this class was ten months old.  He loves looking out into the water and making ripples.  Since both sets of grandparents have pools it is important he knows how to react if he should fall into water.

Tyler 2009 June 15 001Every year kids drown and I do not want my son to become a statistic.  The ISR prepares him for that type of accident.  The class was ten minutes long, five days a week, and concluded at the end of five weeks.  He learned how to transition from his belly to his back, float, remain relaxed, and call attention to himself.  It is an odd concept to say that he is relaxed and crying out at the same time.

My wife and I are reinforcing what he learned from Cindy by periodically practicing in a pool.  We are also not introducing any types of floating aids.  He will not be in a pool suspended vertically by water wings or a raft.  To do so would be to erase all that he has learned.

As time goes by I will periodically post about how I am introducing the outdoors to my son.  I will try to do it in such a way that he thinks of being outside as a natural thing that he has always done.  Below is a short video of him on his last class.  He is wearing everyday clothes.  He has on heavy cotton pants, jacket with a hood, and his diaper.

You maybe thinking why is this class important to taking an infant out kayaking.  Well even though he will always be wearing a PFD like Mom, Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa, I want him to be safe when he is not wearing a PFD.  Too many times kids are only introduced to water while wearing buoyancy aids and they never experience water without  the buoyancy aid.  And this class creates muscle memory in quickly transitioning into a safe floating position.

Never the less, water safety will not be my family’s greatest challenge.  I think the most challenging thing for me is finding the perfect tandem kayak…

– Jeff


July 31, 2011 TAMPA — “A 1-year-old boy died Sunday after drowning in a 5-gallon bucket of water, authorities said.  He slipped out of his parents’ sight for 10 minutes.  His body was found upside down in 5 inches of water in a bucket in the garage.”

July 31, 2011 ST. PETERSBURG — “A 19-year-old Haitian man apparently drowned Saturday afternoon during a beach trip with church friends at Fort De Soto Park.  Around 2:30 p.m., he decided to go in the water. Others in the group began looking for him and spotted him floating, Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies said.  He was pulled to shore and given CPR.  Emergency crews rushed him to All Children’s Hospital, where he died.”

Summer weather is far from over here in the Tampa Bay area.  The headlines the last weekend in July were a grim reminder of the importance of practicing water safety in and around the home, as well as in backyard pools and at the beach.  These two tragedies demonstrate how important it is to supervise kids; for, kids’ last concern is the dangers associated with water.

Backyard Swimming Pool Safety Tips:

  • Actively supervise your children around water at all times
  • Install four-sided fencing and a self-closing, self-latching gate Hot tubs should be covered and locked when not in use.
  • Install a door alarm, a window alarm or both to alert you if a child wanders into the pool area unsupervised.
  • From the start, teach children to never go near or in water without an adult present.
  • Enroll your child in swimming lessons after age 4 – typically the earliest age when they are likely to practice and retain information. Teach children how to tread water, float and stay by the shore.
  • Learn CPR and know how to respond in water emergencies

Home Drowning Prevention Tips:

  • Never leave your child alone or in the care of older children during bath time.
  • Once bath time is over, immediately drain the tub.
  • Empty all buckets, containers and wading pools immediately after use. Store them upside-down and out of children’s reach.
  • Keep toilet lids closed and use toilet seat locks.
  • Keep doors to bathrooms and laundry rooms closed.
  • Children in baby bath seats and rings must be watched every second.

Open Water Safety Tips:

  • Actively supervise children in and around open bodies of water, giving them your undivided attention. Appoint a designated “water watcher”, taking turns with other adults.
  • Enroll your child in swimming lessons after age 4 – typically the earliest age when they are likely to practice and retain information.  Teach children how to tread water, float, and stay by the shore.
  • Make sure kids swim only in areas designated for swimming.
  • Teach children that swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool: they need to be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow and changing weather.
  • Do not let kids operate personal watercraft such as jet skis.  These are intended for adults and require special training.
  • Teach children not to dive into oceans, lakes, or rivers because you never know how deep the water is and what might be hidden under the surface of the water.

Provided by the City of Seminole Fire Rescue – Safety Bulletin, August, 2011

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