Swimming Lessons…. Safeguarding My Kids & Practicing Water Safety

Posted in Parenting by

If there is one thing I learned about Natey’s death, it’s that, as parents, even when we do our best, even when we do everything right, tragedy can strike! Accidents, horrid accidents,with far reaching consequences, can and do happen, even when we’ve done our very best to safeguard our children. 

I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the last few weeks!

How do I avoid this tragedy? What more can we do, as parents to ensure that we minimize the risk or chance of this happening and I kept coming back to the same conclusion.

In a lot of respects, we’ve been slack with Hannah. I’m convinced it’s a second child thing and I feel terrible when I think about it! Ava started swimming lessons when she was 9 months old. She’s been swimming without floaties (armbands) for years already. But Hannah…… she’s never had a single lesson! 

I kept coming back to swimming lessons!

If I could do one thing extra to change the possibility of this tragedy, it would be to get Hannah confident and swimming well and teach her water safety. 

We have a pool net and are religious with it. We also keep the security gates closed when the pool is open, because you just never know. But even with those precautions, accidents and oversights happen. I’m certainly NOT saying that was the case with Natey, but I replayed this tragedy over and over again in my mind and felt SO convicted that this was something we had to do for Hannah.

So she started on Saturday!

We signed her up with Aqualand and her first lesson was on Saturday. She was so flipping excited, I actually felt guilty that it’s taken us so long to do this!

She was an absolute CHAMP! Hannah never ceases to amaze me. From the timid and terrified child who was placed with us, to this confident and funny little girl. She LOVES to learn, long may this last! Learning, anything and everything and she’s the model student. 

She went off and took to it like….. well, like a duck to water….

She usually hates getting her face wet, but after this exercise, she was happy to let her teacher wet her face too!

And within that half an hour lesson, she learned to swim without floaties and even how to dive!

I’m actually so angry with myself that it’s taken this long to get my A into G and get her swimming lessons. On Sunday we spent time at our pool and already, she is like a different child. She swam without floaties, with a shark fin and was doggy paddling from one side of the pool to the other! She’s NEVER done that before.

The thing is…

We can’t always avoid tragedy, but I feel we do have a responsibility to arm our children with all the skills to help themselves. We failed Hannah miserably with swimming but we’re making up for it now.

Can your kids swim? Are they water safe? 

January 30, 2017
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10 Comments

  • Reply catjuggles

    So glad you are highlighting this Sharon! In fact we take it a lot further – hubby was a beach life saver from the age of 14 and he believes a child is not truly water safe until they can swim with some endurance the 3 main strokes (back, freestyle and breast) if you ever want to feel safe with them totally in the sea or even the pool. So my 9 year olds are still taking lessons – C had the choice this year to stop but chose as his sister did to go competitive and then we continue on. L is not there yet

    January 30, 2017 at 8:55 am
    • Reply catjuggles

      Also swimming is possibly the best life exercise ever – another reason to get those 3 strokes under the belt. Butterfly is really intense and as he says – has never saved a life

      January 30, 2017 at 8:57 am
  • Reply belindamountain

    I have been thinking about this tragedy for weeks now too – we also had a close shave with Ben when he was around 2…you’re right, you can have all the systems in place, but they can’t account for simple human error. Glad that something positive has come out of this and that she loved her lesson! Ben has been at lessons for a while now and is so close to swimming…we will keep at it!

    January 30, 2017 at 9:05 am
  • Reply Jodie

    Oh wow – Hannah has such a big girl face!!! Ethan can swim without floats…I just blogged about it last week…such a relief especially because a year or so ago, he jumped in the pool unassisted and if it weren’t for the neighbour who heard the kids screaming, things could have turned out totally different 🙁 Good job, well done Hannah!!

    January 30, 2017 at 9:57 am
  • Reply hilaryjgreen

    Aqualand are the best, my kids learned to swim there. And what’s more, they’re a few houses up from me and you can pop in for a coffee at my house 😉

    January 30, 2017 at 9:59 am
  • Reply Sula

    Swimming lessons are so important. Mine have been going for years but I only started them at age 3 because when I tried with Fjord as a baby he hated it and almost grew to fear water. My Mum pulled a child who drowned out of their family poll when she was young and she instilled a healthy paranoia in me.

    January 30, 2017 at 10:51 am
  • Reply Heather

    We’ve been going for about two years now and Nicky loves his lessons. I also feel that accidents can happen in an instant. We have a good pool fence with double latches. Nicky has fallen in a few times but I was there and helped him. Still hectic for us though. (He doesn’t do that so much anymore) He can swim very short distances but not very confident yet.
    I really feel so awful for that mom of Nate and I think as moms, collectively, we just feel for her. It can happen to any of us.

    January 30, 2017 at 1:47 pm
  • Jolene van Niekerk
    Reply Jolene van Niekerk

    Snap! Nikki is Erin’s teacher 🙂 All 3 little ones learned to swim there. Best swimming school we’ve ever had.

    January 30, 2017 at 5:11 pm
  • Reply Susan

    I had Emily at a swim school for a few months last year, which she hated. I’m sure the instructor caused her to have a fear of the water. She was terrified of that woman after the first 2 lessons. I didn’t like her either. I had given up and decided we’ll teach her at home, but after this post of yours I think I’ll try out Aqualand. Natey’s story really affected me too and I think of them every time I see our pool. We are very strict about the net and if she plays near the pool even with the net on we watch her like hawks. But even with all the precautions accidents can still happen. My husband’s 7 year old sister drowned in a public pool with a lot of people around.

    February 2, 2017 at 9:14 am
    • Reply Sharon

      All the teachers at Aqualand are amazing. Hannah’s one has such a lovely way about her! She’s loving it and it’s so worth it in the end! Good luck!

      February 7, 2017 at 7:04 am

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