Technique Swim Center

Pediatric Swim Techniques: Do’s & Dont’s

Parents want the best for their children. That is why it is so important that parents are educated on the proper swimming techniques when helping your child in and around the water.

Do’s:

  • Always supervise your child around any body of water, even if they have had self-rescue swim skill training.
  • Complete a self-rescue swim skills program such as PediaH2O, do maintenance classes, and then practice without floatation devices to help continue improving muscle memory floating and swimming skills.
  • Learn stroke development when your child is ready and start on a swim team as young as age 4 or 5 if they can make 1 length across the pool by themselves. Children learn rapidly when on a swim team practicing 3-4 days/week with their teammates.

Dont’s:

  • Do not use floatation devices such as Puddle Jumper Swim Vests and armbands. These devices teach your child the wrong body positioning (vertical) in the water.
  • Do not teach your child to jump into the water.
  • Do not teach your child to blow bubbles and exhale all their air out.

Puddle jumper vests, armbands, and floatation devices are an easy answer but the wrong answer. They should not be used under any circumstances, ever. In comparison to swim lessons, puddle jumpers are cheap and readily available. They give the parents a passive option for what they think is water safety. Parents may think, “Why not try them, what do we have to lose?” Well, the answer is…your child.

Here’s why…

A child learns to take NO responsibility for their actions in and around water. They are held by the floatation device with their head high above the water and their body in a bad vertical position which would make them sink if the floatie was not there. They do not learn breath control and holding their breath. It teaches useless bicycle kicking with the knees in a vertical position as opposed to horizontal kicking from the hips and full use of the legs which is good.

When a child falls into the water and does not have their puddle jumper on…they sink. They are unable to stay afloat. They learn what the puddle jumper has taught them…they go vertical expecting air. No air, they begin to sink and struggle for survival and many children have drown this way. According to the website: judahbrownproject.org, “Not many know that puddle jumpers give kids a false sense of security. They don’t know that children under the age of five can’t comprehend that it is the puddle jumper that keeps them floating, and not their own ability. The use of the puddle jumper during swim times makes them brave and unafraid to walk into the water without it on. The puddle jumper puts children in the drowning position (vertical) in the water and creates muscle memory for that position, which creates a situation where children can drown even faster when they get into the water without it.”

Another big NO NO is to teach your unskilled child to jump off the wall to your arms. It truly is so fun to have your baby jump off the side and into your arms using their puddle jumpers. A parent gets in and endlessly encourages their child to jump to them. Off the step, off the wall, from a ledge. “Jump baby jump.” It is so fun. Until it’s not. Do not teach them to do this.

Children behave the way they are taught. They have been taught that it is fun to jump into the pool. They find themselves alone by the water, they jump in, without supervision and without the dreaded puddle jumper. They go vertical, assuming the posture these floatation devices have taught. This posture is unsustainable, and they do not stand a chance when they are vertical. Teach your child breath control and holding their breath, proper horizontal body posture in the water, and buoyancy and rotation to an independent float for air.

Teach your child respect for the water; teach them breathe control, holding their breath, proper horizontal body posture in the water, buoyancy, and rotation to an independent float for air.  Don’t allow or encourage floatation devices.  Teach skills before thrills; teach your child to swim and float for safety and then for fun.

judahbrownproject.org/survival-swim

(resources: PediaSwim.com & JudahBrownProject.org)