Swim Survival – A mothers Point of View

When I began looking for lessons for my then 6 month old baby, I did what every parent does and rang my local swim schools. My son was enrolled in the lessons for his age group which was a parent child lesson, where I was in the pool with my son and we sang, played games and had lots of fun.. Whilst I’m sure it was teaching him something, for me it was teaching him to love and enjoy the water, without teaching him how to actually save himself and as a police officer at the time it was very important my son knew how to save himself. 

The question I ended up asking myself was, what is this teaching my son? If he falls in, he will drown. I wanted more and so I searched and searched and found in Sydney, Kids Aquatic Survival School. It was exactly what I wanted, they would teach my precious boy how to save himself and how to be independent in the water. BUT they are in Sydney and I am in Newcastle, I looked at all the ways I could get my son into these lessons and it just wasn’t possible. Luckily we ended up moving back to Sydney for work when my son was not even two and the first thing I did was enroll him into these swim survival lessons. 

Day 1 of Swim survival lessons, my little boy is crying and calling out to me to help him, it takes every part of my strength to not jump into that pool to help him. This occurs for about 3 plus weeks and I have the videos to prove it, but despite all the crying out for mummy and daddy he still did what he needed to do, which was to learn to survive. Our instructor was so patient, she cuddled him, she made sure he was okay and she was kind and assuring to both my husband and I. She did not throw him in the pool to see how he went and she did not let go of him unless she was directing him towards safety. 6 weeks in and he loves to float, that’s what this program taught him, to roll over and float to get his breath and to then swim to safety, but he won’t swim he just wants to float. We got there and in week 7, he has got it. In his last week, he does it all fully clothed. 

We do this a second time for our youngest and have similar experiences, there are tears until he gets it then they stop. Despite the tears, I think to myself…. I am helping him, I am giving him the ability to be able to save himself if he finds himself in our pool, without me there, this is what we need as a family.

I can just hear all the angry internet perfect parents that are saying or angrily wanting to type, “how could you leave your child alone around a pool?” “where were you?” “why weren’t you watching your child?” Don’t get me wrong, all of these are valid questions but none of these things are lacking in my life, I am always with my children when they are in a pool, and I supervise my children but here is the kicker for all those mums fuming at me right now….. CHILDREN ESCAPE, children get themselves into situations that you don’t want them to be in. A quick google search will show a number of YouTube videos of kids climbing fences to get into a pool area (yes the tube fences and the glass fences, no type of fence is safe) Nothing is 100% child proof, that’s why they tell you to keep medicines high up and away from reach, same for chemicals, because despite the child safety cap, nothing is 100% child proof. So who is going to save your child if they end up in a pool without you knowing?? 

What’s even worse is the higher than mighty people that get on Facebook when a child drowns and automatically blame the parents for their child drowning, the Karen’s come out in force and get abusive to a degree at these parents. If this is you does it make you feel better that during a time of grief and loss you are abusing these people for not supervising their child? Were you there?? Did you somehow predict that the mum was going to get distracted for a few seconds and poof they then don’t know where their child is? One particular incident where the perfect parents of the world became high and mighty on Facebook was when a child drowned in western Sydney at like 8pm at night. These poor parents put their children to sleep and were watching a movie, they believed their child was safe in bed and their child got up and went to the pool and drowned. Yet somehow this was the parents fault, I don’t know about you, but I don’t watch my children when they’re asleep, if I did then I wouldn’t get any sleep myself.  It can take as little as 20 seconds for a child to drown…. 20 SECONDS. 


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