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Did you know that in the United States, drowning takes more lives than any other accident for children 5 & under? For children ages 6 – 14, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death ONLY to automobile accidents! This article will show you how to teach your children water safety
1. Understand that to prevent drownings, you must use a “layered” approach. Here’s an example given to a group of 100 children yesterday in a water safety presentation
.” I said, “who is smarter, boys or girls?” You can imagine the response and the engagement I had in no time. I said, “let’s say there was a boy and a girl. The boy knew how to swim but the girl knew how to swim and had a grown-up watching her. Who would be safer?” “The girl,” they yelled. Now lets pretend the girl knew how to swim and had a grown up watching her, but the boy knew how to swim, had a grown up watching him, and was wearing a lifejacket. Who is safer?” “The boy,” they yelled. Now lets imaging the boy knew how to swim, had a grown up watching him, and wore a lifejacket BUT the girl knew how to swim, had a grown up watching her, wore a lifejacket AND her parents knew CPR.” Who’s safer now? “The girl>” they replied! I went on to ask, “does it really matter if you’re a boy or a girl?” “No,” they responded. “What matters is you play smart when you’re in or around the water.” Now this is a good approach for older children, say 6 and over.
2. Direct water safety education to the appropriate age group. I actually put together a CHILDREN’S BOOK called The SAFER KIDS WATER SAFETY BOOK. From the time my son was 2.5 or so, my wife read him this book often. It’s very child friendly and you can sing the words of the book to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” My son is six now and just last week he asked mom if she would read him that book. So not only can it make a difference for preschoolers, older children like it too. In fact, if you go to www.swimlessonsuniversity.com
you can see my wife Heather and my son Jeb reading/singing the whole book right there on the website! FYI, all proceeds to the book are donated to Drowning Prevention and it costs just $9.00.
3. Use special precaution for babies. The layered approach is the key, however, but there are numerous precautions you can take which is a whole article in itself. I share those tips in my Bathtub Baby 101 that devotes an entire section to Baby Water Safety. The “Bathtub Baby 101″ video is available on my website and I will post the entire water safety section anytime now so please look for that.
4. LEARN TO SWIM. Learning to swim is one of those “layers” of protection BUT you can not depend on it. Again, remember the “comparison example” from #1. Learning to swim is one of the most critical forms of drowning prevention, but it is not the only one. Use a layered approach.
5. FREE ACTIVITY SHEET
. The Safer 3 offers a neat little activity sheet that children can color and learn more about drowning prevention. In fact, you can print a free copy of that right off my website at www.swimlessonsuniversity.com
Just click the FREE RESOURCES button. There is also a free SAFER 3 pamphlet for you!
6. SAFETY DVD
. In addition to my “Safer Kids Water Safety” Book, I also have a “Safer Kids Water Safety” DVD. In this DVD, you can see me teaching a group of second graders the Safer Kids Song and hear them singing and listen in our discussion. In fact, when we sing, the words even scroll across the TV screen like karaoke. A great idea for your young readers.
Sample of Jim Reiser’s SAFER KIDS WATER SAFETY BOOK
. Jim Reiser, AKA “The Swim Professor, is a world renowned author and speaker in the swimming and water safety business.
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