Blog - Page 3 of 7 - Swim Jim

12
Dec

Nurturing Gross Motor Skills in Earliy Childhood: The Benefits

The term “gross motor” development refers to physical skills that use large body movements. In this context, gross means “large” as opposed to “fine” motor skills, such as gripping a pencil.

For children, every day is an opportunity to grow, master, and refine the many physical skills that we, as adults, no longer even think about. Strength, balance, and coordination must all be developed through repetition and intense periods of concentration to which children are naturally inclined. You have probably observed this behavior in your child: climbing on furniture, reaching up to pull items off the counter, jumping off the stairs– not always ideal in terms of safety. The best way we can facilitate this natural process is to provide rich and safe environments for children to explore their abilities and push the boundaries of their gross motor skills. Structured, stimulating classes (such as swimming!) provide a perfect outlet for their growing bodies to move!

Recent studies have indicated that our brains go through critical periods of development as we grow older. While these so called “windows of opportunity” do not slam shut at any certain age, they certainly narrow as we grow up. With regards to gross motor skills, the critical period of development seems to take place between the prenatal period and the age of five. These are the years in which experience is vital to laying the “foundation” of brain circuits connected to motor control. Where it was once understood that we were born with complete “wiring”, it is now the view that while we are born with certain fundamental circuits (for breathing, heartbeat, reflexes), the rest of the brain’s pathways are determined by experience. These connections are made only through experiences and stimulation from the environment.

Early experiences lay the groundwork for lifelong learning and behavior. Taking full advantage of this explosion of brain development that takes place during these early years will continue to benefit your child for years to come.

References:

Optimizing Early Brain and Motor Development through Movement. Carl Gabbard, Ed.D., and Luis Rodriguez.

Physical Nurturing: Gross Motor Activities in Early Childhood. Angela Oswalt, MSW, Natalie Staats Reiss, Ph.D and Mark Dombeck, Ph.D

10
Dec

How Swimming Shaped my Life by Stanley Wong

Lia Neal (Bronze Medalist 2012), Catherine Fox (Gold Medalist 1996), Columbia Swimmer Stanley Wong

Lia Neal (Bronze Medalist 2012), Catherine Fox (Gold Medalist 1996), Columbia Swimmer Stanley Wong

For the past ten years, swimming has been a huge part of my life; it, in a very distinct way, defines me. It shapes me: my character, my personality, and my outlook. Olympic swimmers may make the sport look incredibly easy, but most people are unaware of the time and work that must be dedicated day in and day out to achieve great success among thousands of competitors across the nation. Between double practices, dry-land workouts, and weekend swim meets, I find myself lacking free time to do anything other than studying and homework; the amount of sacrifices taken seem innumerable.

I remember one particular summer, when my friends and I had planned on renting out a beach house for a week to relax and hang out. I had to give up that opportunity–something otherwise very doable–in order to maintain consistency in my training so as not to lose the stamina and strength that I have developed in the prior months of training. If swimming is such a time consuming lifestyle, then what is it that makes me enjoy it? What is it that makes me continually aspire to become a better swimmer?

Swimming is not without its benefits. It keeps me on a tight schedule, which helps me make decisions catering to productivity in other aspects of my life, and especially in managing my time. I have to ensure that I get a sufficient amount of sleep each day so that I can perform my best in both the classroom and the pool. As a student-athlete, I arrange my schedule each day in order to avoid interfering with mandatory practices. Likewise, I must also acknowledge the necessities: afternoon naps being one among many of them. Honestly, without swimming I would have too much time. I’d perhaps make poor decisions with all the excess hours each day. Surely, I’d be more laid back in completing my work and probably succumb to procrastination. Not only has swimming helped me learn how to manage my time, but it has also helped my mental strength.

Getting out of bed every morning before the sun rises, hours before most of the people around me wake up, takes an extraordinary amount of willpower. There is not a single day where, as I awaken to the obnoxious sound of my loud alarm, I do not wish I could just have one extra hour of sleep. But each morning, I think of my hatred of losing to my competitors. I imagine the feeling of not performing my best at the end of the season. These thoughts give me the strength to rise out of bed ready to take on the demanding challenges of my sport. And as I walk through the cold dawn, I think of my teammates who will soon join me on the pool deck, as they do every day. We all support each other. We all inspire and push each other to our limits and beyond. As a unit, we are able to achieve and excel with a distinct drive that I could only ever experience as a swimmer. Small acts of encouragement echo over the pitter-patter of swimmers training: “good job!” and “come on, we’re almost done!” resonate for the hours we give it our all in the pool. And when one of my teammates encourages me, I get a burst of adrenaline that helps me get through a challenging practice.

The remarkable sense of camaraderie developed through long, grueling hours of training and mutual support helps me gain a tremendous level of confidence. And with this confidence, I stay mentally and physically strong. I stay ready for the next race.

Why do I swim? What keeps me in this sport, year after year? It all lies in a single word: goals. Long term goals. Short term goals. They are the reason I have been swimming for over a decade of my life. They are what keeps me inspired and motivated to become a better swimmer. And whether it is in swimming or in my day-to-day life, I find that it is necessary to know where I want to be and what I want to accomplish. Otherwise, I would be living my life mindlessly. Swimming gives me goals; I always have a unique focus in mind, and I always strive to reach and surpass my goals. And perhaps most importantly, these goals are mine. I don’t swim to impress and satisfy other people. I swim for myself, and my goals are for my self-improvement.  I never say, “I want to win this race because my coach and parents want me to.” And while the support of these people are paramount to my lifestyle as a swimmer, swimming solely for others is not why I genuinely enjoy swimming. I enjoy it because each goal I’ve satisfied serves as a memorable milestone that offers inspiration for the next. And as I look forward to the next goal with the passion I’ve felt for nearly half of my life each day, I will keep on swimming.

24
Jun

Ocean Safety–Rip Currents

Now that is it is officially the summer season, most of you will be heading to the beaches for some fun in the sun. But before that can happen everyone should take a moment to learn about one of the main dangers of swimming in the ocean: rip currents.

A rip current, or riptide, forms when there’s a narrow channel perpendicular to the shore. After waves roll onto the beach, instead of flowing straight back out, they drain into a channel, creating a powerful, fast moving river out to see. People mistake that moderate tugging at your feet and legs, as a strong undertow, which is not the case. Rip currents flow from sand to surface in one direction. They’re easy to spot from the beach. Look for a choppy, sometimes sandy swath of water (about 10-20 feet wide) that runs from shore to sea and stays relatively flat as waves roll in on either side of it.

If you’re caught in the tide there are two very important rules to follow: Don’t panic and don’t fight it. Even the strongest swimmer can’t swim against a rip current for long. So relax the current will not pull you under. Take a second, and swim parallel to the beach for a few minutes. Once you’re free, turn and swim back to shore.

Another important thing to take into account is which way the sweep is going that day. Sweep is defined as a flow of water parallel to shore caused by wave action at an ocean beach or at a point or headland. Basically it is the direction of the ocean current, meaning which direction you will float down the beach as you swim. If you can’t figure it out on your own you can simply ask the lifeguard which direction it is. The reason this is important to know is because you should exit the rip in the direction of the sweep. That way once you’re out and swimming to the shore you continue to drift away from the rip.

 

Here is a picture to help as well as a picture of an actual rip in the ocean:

To insure that each trip to the beach is a fun and safe one, it is important to remember a couple of things: Always swim near a lifeguard, know the conditions of the water, never swim alone, know your limits, and if you do get in trouble don’t panic stay afloat and call to the guard for help.

7
Jun

Ocean Safety–Rip Currents

Rip Currents

Now that is it is officially the summer season, most of you will be heading to the beaches for some fun in the sun. But before that can happen everyone should take a moment to learn about one of the main dangers of swimming in the ocean: rip currents.

A rip current, or riptide, forms when there’s a narrow channel perpendicular to the shore. After waves roll onto the beach, instead of flowing straight back out, they drain into a channel, creating a powerful, fast moving river out to see. People mistake that moderate tugging at your feet and legs, as a strong undertow, which is not the case. Rip currents flow from sand to surface in one direction. They’re easy to spot from the beach. Look for a choppy, sometimes sandy swath of water (about 10-20 feet wide) that runs from shore to sea and stays relatively flat as waves roll in on either side of it.

If you’re caught in the tide there are two very important rules to follow: Don’t panic and don’t fight it. Even the strongest swimmer can’t swim against a rip current for long. So relax the current will not pull you under. Take a second, and swim parallel to the beach for a few minutes. Once you’re free, turn and swim back to shore.

Another important thing to take into account is which way the sweep is going that day. Sweep is defined as a flow of water parallel to shore caused by wave action at an ocean beach or at a point or headland. Basically it is the direction of the ocean current, meaning which direction you will float down the beach as you swim. If you can’t figure it out on your own you can simply ask the lifeguard which direction it is. The reason this is important to know is because you should exit the rip in the direction of the sweep. That way once you’re out and swimming to the shore you continue to drift away from the rip.

 

Here is a picture to help as well as a picture of an actual rip in the ocean:

To insure that each trip to the beach is a fun and safe one, it is important to remember a couple of things: Always swim near a lifeguard, know the conditions of the water, never swim alone, know your limits, and if you do get in trouble don’t panic stay afloat and call to the guard for help.

27
Jan

Swim classes canceled today!

Due to last night’s snow storm SwimJim’s classes are canceled today 1/27/2011.

The office will still be open.

Stay warm out there and have a great day!

20
Jan

Oprah Campaign

Oprah Campaign

NDPA Requests Members to Participate in the “Oprah Campaign”
January 2011
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Greetings!

 

The Swim For Life Foundation, NDPA, the U.S. Swim School Association and other drowning prevention organizations are campaigning to have the drowning epidemic in America highlighted on the Oprah Winfrey Show during this, her last season.  It is our hope that drowning prevention will be impacted by the ‘Oprah Effect’.  In order to make this happen YOU will have to participate!

 

GOAL:  Saturation. Let’s give Oprah 10,000 e-mails and/or letters with our plea.

TIME:  Send your emails and/or letters between January 24-February 14


HOW:

  • Use the letter link below or the pre-written email text to contact The Oprah Winfrey Show (letters and contact information below)
  • Enlist your staff to do the same
  • Promote this campaign within your swim school, underscore your lifesaving message and have your customers send the email and letter, too
  • Recruit as many people as you can; family, friends, facebook friends, etc.  This is for anyone involved in drowning prevention, aquatics, or water safety.
  • Post this message on Facebook and Twitter

1.   To submit electronically:

Follow this link to submit Show Ideas: https://www.oprah.com/ownshow/plug_form.html?plug_id=216


Use the text below to fill in the “Your Message” box.  Be sure to leave America’s Drowning Epidemic as your first line.

 

 

America’s Drowning Epidemic

Please highlight the vital topic of water safety and drowning prevention on the Oprah Show while it still airs on a national network.  Every day an average of 10 people die from drowning in this country, most of these victims are under the age of 14, male and minority.  58% of African American children and 56% of Hispanic children don’t know how to swim and neither do their parents.  Every year, nearly 3500 people drown nationwide. Doesn’t that deserve some national attention? Check out this fact sheet for confirmation from the CDC on the incidence of drowning in America.

The Center for Disease Control Unintentional Drowning Fact Sheet

http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Water-Safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html

 

Alloting a portion of your show to this critically important topic could have a significant impact on these harrowing statistics. There are so many myths to be dispelled about how, when and where people drown. Please use your voice to save and educate millions of people.

 

 

Or 2.  To submit via mail click on this link and copy letter

 

This a great chance to get our message heard. Remember, there is power in numbers. Let the Oprah Campaign begin!

 

Sincerely

 

Kristin Goffman

NDPA Executive Director

14
Nov

Great Article called Keeping Young Minds Healthy

From Time Magazine Nov 7th

Can go to the website for more detailed info.

http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2026672_2026712_2026677-1,00.html

Keeping Young Minds Healthy

By Jeffrey Kluger Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010

l

Timothy Archibald for Time

Bethany hated fifth grade. She didn’t much care for sixth, seventh or eighth either, but fifth grade was when the trouble really started.

Fifth grade was the year Bethany started to notice boys — and to wonder if she was noticing them quite enough. The girls she knew were already swooning over Kirk Cameron, Michael J. Fox and other teen heartthrobs of the day. She was swooning too, she guessed, but in the same way her friends were? And what about when it came time to kiss a real boy in her own world? Would she want to?

Tales of boys and girls who doubt their sexual stirrings this way often end with their discovering — and eventually embracing — the fact that they’re gay. But Bethany (not her real name) wasn’t gay, and she knew it instinctively, even if she doubted it constantly. Her anxiety grew from an increasingly common form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in which people who may have no moral or cultural qualms about homosexuality suddenly begin despairing of the possibility of ever knowing with blood-test certainty just what their sexuality is. Uncertainty is the fuel for OCD, and the harder a sufferer tries to answer the unanswerable, the hotter the obsessional bonfire burns. (See the best books about children’s mental health.)

“The preoccupation grew until it became a 20-year nightmare,” Bethany says. “I obsessed constantly — looking at other girls to check my reactions, looking at boys and asking myself if I wanted to kiss them. I couldn’t shake it.”

It wasn’t until Bethany was 30 that she found a website for an OCD institute, read about the multiple expressions of the disorder and found that one of them fit her precisely. Her treatment, cognitive-behavioral therapy that taught her to embrace uncertainty rather than fight it, began shortly afterward. Three years later, she’s at last enjoying peace and, like so many other adult sufferers of childhood-onset emotional disorders, also grieving the decades she lost to her condition.

All of us, in many ways, are born insane. Our emotions are unregulated; our moods are explosive; we are consumed by irrational fears, erupt into manic happiness, dissolve into inexplicable tears. It takes years — decades really — for an internal emotional governor to come fully online, and in that time, young minds can be prey to all manner of disorders and pathologies. Parents don’t always fully grasp that fact, and even doctors may underestimate it, which is understandable. It’s not easy even for professionals to separate the normal storms of childhood behavior from the less normal ones. But the numbers tell a clear story. (See Dr. Mehmet Oz’s prescription for happy kids.)

About one in five children in the U.S. suffers from some sort of emotional or behavioral condition, according to a new study led by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Among adults with confirmed ills, 50% were diagnosed before the age of 14 and 75% before 24. The estimated annual price tag for the treatment and consequences of juvenile psychological disorders is $250 billion, with those whose conditions are not caught early contributing to that total for years.

Worse than the money lost to mental illness is the joy lost to it. Epidemiologists speak of what are known as disability adjusted life years (DALYs) — years compromised or diminished by ill health. Among Americans under 25, mental disorders account for 30% of all DALYs; in the 14-to-25 group, it’s 48%. For someone like Bethany, two-thirds of her pretreatment lifespan would be considered disability adjusted.

“Childhood is a canary-in-the-coal-mine time,” says Dr. Lynn Wegner, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina. “If early signs of mental-health problems aren’t correctly managed, they may stay with kids for life.”

The good news is that intervention can work, early detection can work and so can a range of gentle, kid-friendly therapeutic techniques that are increasingly being practiced on the young. And that benefits everyone. According to the NAS, every dollar spent by Medicaid or other public-health programs on prevention of mental illness among kids may be paid back as much as 28 times over the course of a lifetime in disability benefits never claimed, adult psychiatric care never needed and, in some cases, crimes never committed, though even public-policy experts don’t always recognize that fact. “The savings are often later, and they may be in the jails or in special-ed programs, so we don’t always notice them,” says professor of psychology Marc Atkins of the University of Illinois at Chicago. “As a society, we don’t do a very good job of looking at these factors.”

For families the questions are far more intimate and harder to reduce to balance sheets. Parents worried about the most common childhood-onset disorders — phobias, generalized anxiety, OCD, depression, bipolar disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism — rarely know exactly what to look for or what to do if they spot something. Is a child obsessive or just fastidious? Depressed or ruminative? Hyperactive or high-spirited? Overdiagnose and you may attach a stigmatizing label to a healthy child; underdiagnose and you may leave a condition to worsen on its own.

“Since you’re talking about kids, whose brains change a lot over time, illnesses are simply harder to diagnose,” says Dr. David Axelson, an associate professor of psychiatry and the director of the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Services program at the University of Pittsburgh. What parents — and doctors — need are clear guidelines of what the trouble signs are and up-to-date information about how to avoid problems before they start and fix them if they do.

Sweating the Small Stuff
The first question parents need to ask themselves when they notice worrisome behavior in their kids is “So?” The temperament of all humans is complex and messy — especially when they are immature — and each will develop quirks that may be harbingers of trouble or may just as easily not be. It depends on whether those quirks interfere with functioning. (See TIME’s special report “How to Live 100 Years.”)

“It’s a fine line, since we don’t have any lab tests,” says Dr. Ben Vitiello, director of the child and adolescent treatment and prevention branch at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). “If a child bites his nails but is otherwise functioning socially, it’s not likely to be a sign of an anxiety disorder. If biting his nails is all he ever does in a social situation, that’s something else. The same is true for a child who is prone to be aggressive. Can he control it when he has to, or is he unable to stay in school?”

Context also makes a difference. American parents are scared out of their wits about autism these days — partly with cause, partly because of media hysteria and myths about the perils of vaccines. But being aware of the signs of the condition is always wise. By 18 months, babies should interact with parents and caregivers, exchanging smiles and pointing at objects. An absence of such reciprocity may be troubling, but it’s not necessarily a problem if it doesn’t occur in all settings. Kids who engage at home and disconnect in day care may be anxious or shy — and may eventually be diagnosed with an anxiety condition — but autism is less likely. The same is true for language delay, hyperactivity and aggression, all of which are red flags for autism but can be situational.

In some cases, including those involving anxiety or mood disorders, it may not be the kids’ welfare but the parents’ that is in play. There’s a vanity component to parenting: Who doesn’t want the prettiest, cleverest, most personable kid in the room? It’s hard to admit that maybe your baby is simply awkward. “It’s true that you look for distress or impairment,” says Torrey Creed, a clinical child psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania. “But who’s distressed, the parent or the child? Sometimes parents actually want something diagnosed but it doesn’t need to be.” (See what signs to look for in your kids.)

Age is a critical variable as well. Psychologists are reluctant to diagnose OCD in kids younger than 8, for example, simply because so much of what young children do looks obsessional or compulsive. Inviolable nighttime routines (a certain story read a certain number of times in a certain chair) or seemingly pointless exercises (lining up toy cars in a precise sequence, messing them up and starting all over) are usually just normal rituals that help create a sense of order in a too big, too random world. The need for such rituals fades as kids begin to feel that they have some control over their environment. Only if compulsive behavior continues after that should parental eyebrows be raised.

Anxiety conditions may have a similar shelf life. At about 8 months, babies start to develop what’s known as object permanence — an understanding that just because something is out of sight doesn’t mean it no longer exists. When the object in question is a caregiver, babies become much less tolerant of being left alone, since they understand better that if they howl loudly enough, whoever has left the room will return. Separation anxiety peaks again at about 2 years old and once more at around 5. Here too, it’s only after children are outside of that normal range that parents should worry.

“This is when you get what we call Velcro kids,” says Creed, “the ones who can’t let go because they fear for their own or a parent’s safety.” Another sign of a broader condition known as generalized anxiety disorder is a child who never seems to run out of what Creed describes as what-if questions: What if there’s a fire? What if there’s a hurricane? What if terrorists or other bad people attack? Shielding kids from TV may prevent some fears from getting seeded in the first place, but it can’t prevent them all because what-if questions are limited only by the child’s imagination — a resource that is effectively unlimited.

This means that not only is a child’s defiant, depressive or anxious behavior explored but so are the circumstances that trigger episodes. Parents with volatile or poorly regulated moods cannot fairly expect better from their kids; the same may be true for parents who despair when confronted with obstacles.

A new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry showed that family therapy can even help when teens suffer from eating disorders, with parents helping encourage healthy dietary habits and changing behaviors of their own that lead to dysfunction in the home. Among anorexics who successfully completed family treatment, 49% maintained weight gains after 12 months, compared with 23% of kids who underwent solo therapy. “When parents are part of therapy, they’ve typically served in more of a coaching role for the kids,” says Creed. “But it seems more effective if the parents are also learning and practicing cognitive-behavioral skills themselves.”

A wild card whenever children are being treated is the question of medication. A child’s brain is a work in progress, and introducing outside chemistry could, many fear, alter its development in untold ways. In some cases, the drug question is easy to answer and is governed by the severity of the sickness. Schizophrenia is well-nigh impossible to treat without drugs, though the disease is not common in childhood. Bipolar disorder, similarly, typically calls for meds as part of the mix. The problem is, bipolar medications, which include mood stabilizers, antipsychotics and anticonvulsants, can be brutal on the body, causing weight gain and motor-control disorders and contributing to high triglycerides and diabetes. (See Dr. Mehmet Oz’s prescription for happy kids.)

“It’s been our clinical experience that kids are more sensitive to these things,” says Axelson. “On the positive end, the drugs often work relatively well and can be lifesavers.” In some cases, Axelson says, bipolar kids and adults can come off drugs, at least for a while, provided the weaning takes place under a doctor’s supervision. “That doesn’t mean they don’t have bipolar anymore,” he cautions. “It’s possible the disease just goes into remission for a time.”

For other anxiety, mood or behavioral disorders, doctors are nearly unanimous in their opinion that it’s best to try nonchemical interventions first and see if drugs are needed to fill the gaps. “First you provide support,” says Vitiello, whose branch of the NIMH specializes in evaluating the efficacy and safety of treatments for kids. “If that’s not sufficient, you consider drugs.”

But consider carefully. Antidepressants like Paxil have come under fire as studies found that they can lead to an increase in suicidal thoughts — particularly among patients 25 or under. In 2004 the FDA ordered that all such meds carry black-box warnings disclosing this risk. Experts, including Vitiello, however, stress that antidepressants also have a protective effect and may actually prevent some people from committing suicide. The key is balancing the risks of medicating with those of not medicating — a complex calculus that patients, parents and doctors need to conduct with care and exactness.

Into the Breach
With kids’ lives and welfare on the line, most parents would welcome all the help they can get, and increasingly it’s available from independent, academic and government groups. For example, Roger Weissberg, a professor of psychology and education of the University of Illinois at Chicago, leads a program called the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), which advocates for school programs that teach relationship skills, self-management and other basic abilities that undergird mental health. CASEL also rates 80 nationwide, often commercial programs that offer schools seminars and course materials. (See TIME’s special report “How to Live 100 Years.”)

Psychologist Mark Greenberg at Penn State University has similarly launched the PATHS (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) Curriculum. Yet another program, called New Beginnings, headed by psychologist Irwin Sandler of Arizona State University, offers specialized programs of six to 12 sessions for families in which parents are getting divorced or a parent has died. Familial crises such as these can usher in a powder-keg period for kids’ emotional health.

“We’ve followed up families six years after they went through the program and, in cases of divorce, found a 36% reduction in the likelihood of diagnosed mental illness among kids,” says Sandler. “We’ve also seen lower rates of alcohol and drug use and high-risk sex.”

Ultimately, no amount of pre-emptive attention can ensure that a child will never come down with a mental illness, just as no amount of bundling up or eating right will ever provide absolute protection against colds or other physical ailments. What prevention, treatment and therapy can do is reduce the risk and, if you are unlucky and get sick anyway, improve the odds of getting well. Kids have a lifetime of experiences ahead of them. It’s a healthy mind — the repository of the puzzles and charms and giddy riddles that make children such a joy — that can help them make the most of that time.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/0,28757,2026672,00.html #ixzz15Gnz6eDp


27
Jul

Pool Safely Educational Video

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission along with Safe Kids USA and the National Drowning Prevention Alliance has released a new Pool Safely educational video. The video highlights seven simple steps that everyone should take to keep kids safe in and around the pool and spa.

Make the rest of the summer not only fun but safe by checking out the Pool Safely Video:

23
Jul

The Trouble with Water Wings

You may have heard an instructor at SwimJim discourage a parent from using water wings, or arm floaties.  There are several important reasons we, and many other swim instruction and water safety organizations feel strongly that water wings, or floaties are not a good choice.

Although inflatable armbands are popular among small children, water wings are not a life-saving device; they will not prevent a child from accidentally going under water and potentially drowning.  Remember, water wings can slip off or easily deflate.  Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of water wings is the possibility of the adult responsible for supervising the swimmers and the swimmer themselves to become lulled into a feeling of safety.  Inflatable armbands are patented as toys, not safety equipment. Mistaking them for such can create a potentially fatal situation.

Finally, inflatable armbands teach children an improper vertical position in the water, instead of the correct horizontal swimming posture. As the instructor begins working on back floating, the first step in water-safety training and swim instruction, your child may feel uncomfortable and resist working in the horizontal position.  She may also be unused to water splashing across her face or getting into her ears – common problems with a child that is used to the head being high and dry, while rest of the body is in the pool below her.  Feeling comfortable with rolling to their back and floating is the single most important aspect of a child’s being safe in an unexpected water situation.

Try using a swim noodle in place of wings.  The benefit is that the child can better understand that they and the noodle are separate, while children may not always understand that the floaties are the reason for their floating.   The noodle also helps to engage the deltoids and scapula in the upper back, muscles and bones that are important in swimming.

Have a safe summer – and we will see you in the pool!

17
Dec

December 2009 Newsletter

SwimJim Family,

Below are several of our articles that can be found in our monthly newsletter.  If you would like to be added to our E-mail list, please send an E-mail to info@swimjim.com and place “E-mail List” in the subject line.

Have a great holiday and we hope to hear from you soon!

SwimJim, Inc.