Parents of 20 month old Jamie Houltham are extolling the value of getting very young children into swimming lessons after their daughter took an unscheduled plunge during a play date at a local beach last week.
With her mother standing nearby, Jamie was enjoying a beach visit with her Nature Playgroup friends, playing in the rain in her t shirt and long pants, running along the beach and paddling in the less than ankle deep puddles. Unbeknown to the parents, a nearby storm water outlet had undercut an area in one of the puddles. Sarah, Jamie’s mother heard a splash and turned to see Jamie’s green pants floating in one of the puddles. Jamie was quickly rescued after she had been completely immersed and amazingly had not taken in any water, nor was she crying or distressed in any way.
Sarah attributes Jamie’s ability to push herself up from the bottom of the “puddle” when she was completely immersed, to not swallow water and then float on her back, to having swimming lessons at Northern Arena from a very young age, and her great swimming teacher. Sarah admits that both her and Jamie were initially anxious when they had to perform their first full submersion in a swimming lesson. It had taken about 4 weeks before they both gained confidence regarding submersions. Without this practice Jamie would not have previously experienced being out of her depth and Sarah is convinced that she would have taken in water and been quite panic stricken.
Although Sarah’s two older children started swimming lessons at an older age, she is a strong advocate for getting children into swimming lessons at an early age to ensure they develop both confidence and sensibility around water. The time taken between onset of panic and drowning can be as little as 12 seconds, so having confidence when in the water can save lives.