Statistics released by Water Safety New Zealand earlier this year showed that between January 1st and December 31st, 2011 a shocking 131 people in New Zealand lost their lives to drowning. We are a culture that thrives on being able to spend time at play on our beaches and waterways, but clearly we need help when it comes to staying safe. We need to respect water as much as we celebrate it, and it’s clear that something serious needs to be done.
Entering the water – safely – at an early age is a great way to begin, and the benefits of “baby-friendly”, infant/toddler swimming are unique, uplifting and contribute to the positive development of the whole child.
Researchers have documented for years that the stimulating effect of child-paced infant/toddler swimming lessons has the potential to increase intelligence, concentration, alertness, and perceptual abilities – and ensuring that they learn early on how to stay safe in the water is the biggest bonus of all.
Early swim lessons set a positive foundation towards a lifetime of participation and enjoyment in a variety of water sports and time spent on, in and under the water.
Safety skills are one of the primary reasons why many people initially enrol their children in swimming lessons. But, as you now know there is so much more to infant/toddler swimming than merely one aspect. However, the acquisition of the right safety skills early on in life is not only life enhancing, it can be lifesaving. The younger your child can begin their swimming adventure, the sooner they will be able to build a foundation for a lifetime of safety in the water, and may even be able to one day save others.
Safety skills to learn include teaching a baby to jump in the water, turn around and swim back to the side. This is the most practical method of ‘self rescue’ for infants and toddlers as the majority of accidents occur near the edge of pools or other bodies of water, often when adults aren’t around.
A child who has been in lessons will learn to grip the side of the pool and eventually progress to floating on their back. Knowing these skills can assist exponentially in making your child safer in the water. The other great thing is learning for parents about handling your child safely in and around the water, and being able to reinforce those skills at home, the beach or at friends’ pools.
It’s time to get your family ready for a long, hot and safe summer.
Based in Silverdale, Northern Arena has four cutting-edge, heated pools – all indoors. The pools are treated by ultra violet light similar to the way drinking water is treated, allowing for a low level of chlorine that makes them ideal for babies and those with sensitive skin. All of their lessons are designed to be fun as well as educational, enhancing enjoyment and confidence in the water.
Have a think about popping your child in the water into the lead up to the Great New Zealand Summer – you’ll be helping them on the way to knowing how to save themselves in the water, increase their learning ability and have a lot of fun while they’re at it!