Last summer, it was quite evident we needed to work hard on teaching kids to swim. My motto is safety first, fun later.. because a two-year old stepped off a concrete path at the Botanical Gardens and slipped into a lily pond. His mother was stunned when she cleared away the foliage and realized he was going down, rather than coming up for a breath. More recently, an 18 month-old was running happily in a local park, when he darted down the bank into the creek. He was floating motionless, face down in the water when his mother jumped in to save him.
Both of these children had been through swim lessons. Neither knew how to swim. Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of five in the U.S, and first in several states, including Texas, Florida, California and Arizona. The victims are frequently children who loved the water — to death. This is because water is a hostile environment for humans.
Swimming is not a natural ability — it must be learned. So it is prudent to examine the message that we parents unwittingly send our children about water. “Water Is Fun!” But is it?
Should a child who cannot swim perceive water as fun?