Top five tips for water safety over the Easter break
By Ian Campbell — Dad to three boys and founder of JUMP! Swim Schools
Easter is a timely reminder of the importance early years swim instruction plays in creating a safe holiday lifestyle. JUMP! Swim Schools, which has over 17,000 children learning to swim in Australia, Singapore, and Brazil, is reinforcing the need for swimming to be taught early as a life skill for all children.
JUMP! Swim Schools was founded by Ian Campbell, a father of three young boys who is passionate about increasing participation, water confidence and skill levels globally in a bid to decrease drowning statistics.
“As a Dad to three active young boys, with a backyard pool and some of Australia’s best beaches on our Gold Coast doorstep, swimming forms an integral part of our family’s Easter holiday.
“For the Campbell clan, there is no better way to beat the heat and spend some family time together than hanging about in the water. So, for us, water safety forms a big part in ensuring our holidays are fun.
“Supervising your children in and around water is a must, no matter how skilled they are at swimming.
“At the very foundation of water-based family fun is water confidence. This confidence and ensuing journey through water can begin as early as three months of age through JUMP! Swim Schools.”
Start learn-to-swim lessons from three months of age
I am a strong advocate for children to be swimming before they start school and at JUMP! Swim Schools this begins with a dedicated babies program. Babies are capable of amazing things and our tailored curriculum uses the best practices from learn-to-swim programs around the world to maximise their physical development in learning the fundamental aspects of swimming.
At JUMP!, the first class that parents can start their child in is the Duckling class for children aged 3-9 months. These babies will graduate competent in holding their breath for up to 5 seconds, with basic mobility skills and able to float on their back with support.
Developing water confidence in babies from three months of age is the key to building a family lifestyle that is safe in and around the water.
Always supervise your children. Better yet, join them in the water!
Supervising your children in and around water is a must, not matter how skilled they are at swimming. Beaches can get packed, phones at home can be distracting, children are naturally drawn to water and accidents happen. Supervising doesn’t just mean watching them, you should always be at arm’s length.
But while supervising is important, jumping in and joining them on their journey through water is way more fun. I love nothing more than playing games and enjoying the company of my kids in the water. It’s a great bonding experience.
Keep lessons up throughout the year to retain water confidence
Swimming is a confidence-based activity and the best way to develop and retain this confidence is by starting lessons at a young age and continuing lessons throughout the year. Children also forget, it’s as simple as that. So, it’s important to keep them practicing swimming all year round so they can build on their abilities and not regress.
At JUMP! Bukit Timah, our pool is indoors, free of distraction and the water is heated to 32 degrees all year around. It makes for the perfect environment for little swimmers. Teaching your children to swim is not only a safety measure but a lifestyle choice — your lifestyle is better with children who swim and have fun with you in the water.
Create fun, consistent rules around swimming
Rules don’t have to be boring, but they are there to serve a purpose. For some parents, their safety measures are not allowing children in a pool unless they have their swimmers on — children will struggle to dress themselves in bathers and always ask Mum for help.
At JUMP! Swim Schools, we are building a culture of fun and excitement about learning to swim and water safety. Our safety measure is fun and consistent — we start every class with our welcome song. This is where the child is named and welcome in a round robin chorus with claps.
Be prepared for an emergency — learn how to resuscitate
Every parent should attend an accredited resuscitation course to learn CPR. These are vital parenting skills that should go hand in hand with swimming lessons for your children. Make sure you know how to help your child, loved ones and even strangers in an emergency. CPR saves lives!