August. The summer begins winding down. Kids and their parents start looking toward the first of the school year . . . and the end of long days spent by the pool and the lake and those fun splash pads and water parks that keep popping up around town.
Maybe you have a child that’s a strong swimmer, knowledgeable about playing in the water. Maybe you’ve been coaxing your little one to take a big jump off the side of the pool all summer. Wherever you are in your journey to raise an able, responsible swimmer, August in no time to get complacent in swim safety.
We put our little one in swim lessons at Emler Swim School before he could walk. He loved it. Stared kicking his little feet as soon as he saw the pool. It was fun for him, but it was an important safety step for us. My husband and I never remember not knowing how to swim. But we have heard too many stories–scary stories.
For almost 40 years, Jan Emler has offered a wonderful curriculum to teach kids everything from the basics to the advance, with an emphasis always on safety. The Emler family is passionate about giving children the tools they need to stay safe while playing in the water and that starts with awareness. When I reached out to Jan, she sent me tons of information, and statistics, and tips, and warnings. Her son Tyler, the director of Lone Star Lifesavers, expands on the family’s devotion and says awareness, vigilance, and consistency are everything.
“Swimming lessons, life jackets, CPR training, barriers around water, and proper supervision are all proven to reduce risk around water,” Tyler Emler reminds us. “But these steps must be used consistently and in conjunction with one another to have a lasting effect.”
Emler’s and Lone Star Savers’ websites offer resources and advice, but there are four basic safety tips to keep in mind:
- Learn how to swim yourself.
- Set up barriers around water–pools, ponds, lakes. Block kids easy access to these areas.
- Provide uninterrupted visual supervision of children when you are in or around water. Keep engaged with your eyes on them. Remember, drowning is a silent killer.
- Learn CPR.
Set up boundaries with your children. They should know the rules and follow them. We always knew we couldn’t put a foot in the water without an adult with us.
Water play is such a fun time for a family to enjoy. Fear shouldn’t ruin it. But awareness and knowledge can help make a trip to the pool safer.
We’ve been taking Will to Fort Worth Family Swim School for the past two weeks. With his age, the daily interaction, his engaging FWFSS instructor Mr. Daniel, and some healthy peer pressure, I can report my 3 year old successfully conquered “fish face” and no longer fears water in his eyes. It’s a whole new wet world!
Now with a healthy dose of both confidence and safety skills, we hope to hit a few places before the months turn cold.
Allen Bolden Outdoor Pool, 2800A S. Center St., Arlington, 10 a.m.–8 p.m., free-$3.50
Burger’s Lake, 1200 Meandering Road, 9 a.m.–7 p.m., $5-12
Forest Park Pool, 2850 Forest Park Blvd., 1-7 p.m. Tues.–Sun., $5-6
Howard Moore Play Pool, 1999 Bever Blvd., Arlington, hours vary daily, free-$3.50
Marine Park Pool, 303 N.W. 20th St, 1-7 p.m., $5-6
NRH2O, 9001 Boulevard 26 North Richland Hills, hours vary daily, $20-26
Saginaw Aquatic Center, 605 W. McLeroy Blvd., Saginaw, hours vary daily, $5-10
Splash Kingdom Wild West, 1001 Cinema Dr., Weatherford, opens at 11 a.m. daily, $19-24, under 2 years is free
Sycamore Splash Pad, 2525 E. Rosedale St., noon-7 p.m., free
What are your kids’ favorite “swimming holes”?