Children To Swim As Soon As Possible
By JOHN M. DERBY
July 6, 2017
is never a good reason for losing a life in the water, and
we know it happens all the time. Young children at the age
of 3 being too close to water is totally unacceptable unless
that child is closely supervised by an adult who can swim.
In the most recent water accident who was to blame? The
responsibility remains with the parent(s). When children
are close to water, full time observation is absolutely
necessary. One slip, one wave, one rubber raft or inner
tube turned over, can mean a life.
Yet, water is always going to be a present danger and it
cannot be avoided. The solution is to teach children water
safety at the very earliest age possible. Some children
learn to swim even before they learn to walk.
This is the voice of experience talking. As a water safety
instructor, we came to California to work as a lifeguard
and swimming teacher, and that is what we did every summer
for the four years we spent going to college in Fresno.
We literally taught over 1,000 young people how to swim.
Some of those were unwilling participants, like our own
two children who laughed so much they would not learn from
However, we knew the importance of swimming, and we lived
in an area of Merced County where the canals were all over
the place. It would be only a matter of time before someone
would coax them into the canals on a hot day.
We came up with an idea. Since our kids wouldn’t take
us seriously, maybe they would believe us when we told them
that people threw broken beer bottles into the canals, and
they lined the bottom, so if you stepped on the bottom your
feet would be cut.
Somehow, they believed us (and it was not a lie). Our kids
eventually became good swimmers after we installed one of
those above ground pools in the backyard.
Fear of water is a major problem in teaching the kids to
swim. Actually it is not the fear that kids have of water,
but the fear that parents have of their kids being in water.
Many parents have never learned to swim so they actually
pass on the fear of water to their children.
If need be, hire someone who knows how to swim, to teach
your children how to swim. It makes sense. You do not try
to teach your children many subjects which are taught in
schools, why not send your child to a swimming school.
Many communities have swimming programs which are not very
costly. Enter the child in one of these just to get him
or her started. There are many other places to teach children
swimming. Parents who have pools in their backyards and
have children of their own who are learning to swim could
be a good choice, however, make sure they are responsible
parents who keep and eye on the swimmers at all times. No
watching television inside while the youngsters are supposed
to be taking care of themselves.
Swimming is serious business, but it also could be one of
the most enjoyable exercises there is on a good hot summer
day. Do not delay with teaching your children about swimming
and water safety.
The story you read in the paper recently about the parent
who lost his life trying to save his child, could be the
story of hundreds of parents who are just not prepared.