Author Archive Natasha

Swimming out of your comfort zone

We are all guilty of continuing to do things we are comfortable with because it feels familiar, safe and secure. Each of us has our own comfort zone, be it psychological, emotional or behavioural.

By stepping out of our comfort zone we challenge ourselves to transition, grow, transform and ultimately create change.

Many of the skills taught through the Kids Aquatic Survival School (KASS) survival program, will be the first time a child has been required to perform. Such as;

  1. Being in the water
  2. Being in the water without their parent
  3. Floating assisted on their back
  4. Putting their face underwater

Many children might find these tasks challenging which may be outside of their comfort zone, but it is certainly within their capabilities.

At KASS, children are taught in a positive and safe environment through small incremental changes. We also make every lesson count, so the child is taught a new skill, which challenges them. KASS ensures the child makes a successful attempt at each skill presented, in order to create a positive learning experience. Each small change accumulates and builds upon the last one and with time, reassurance, patience and given the opportunity, children can and do achieve amazing life saving skills.

Please call 1800 543 779 or email [email protected]u to book your child into our accelerated Survival Program tailored to infants from 6 months to 6 years of age.

Barbara’s story

Barbara is a 3.5 year old girl from the Philippines. She is from a non-English speaking family and came to Australia only six months ago.

Back home, Barbara experienced a non-fatal drowning incident which involved falling into a body of water. Her mother watched helplessly as she herself could not swim and was unable to rescue her. Thankfully a neighbour moved swiftly and jumped to Barbara’s rescue.

In the Philippines, drowning is a leading killer with an average of 3,276 deaths per year. Many children live near open water sources, such as ponds, irrigation channels, rivers or have uncovered open wells. More children aged 5-14 years die from drowning than from any other cause.

Fatal and non-fatal drownings are not accurately reported in the Philippines as many low and middle-income families cannot afford medical bills associated with hospitalisation and funerals.

Just two months after arriving in Australia, Barbara’s mother enrolled her into the Survival and Learn to Swim Program with Kids Aquatic Survival School (KASS).

In just five weeks, Barbara learnt to roll from front to back to breathe and remain in a floating breathing posture until help arrives. She further learnt to roll back to front and swim and repeat this sequence of swimming and floating until she reaches safety or the edge.

Barbara learnt all of this with Kids Aquatic Survival School in 25 lessons and remarkably without speaking or understanding English.

That’s what makes the KASS Survival and Learn to Swim Program so unique. The skills Barbara learnt are taught through non-verbal prompts and procedures. So, should Barabra ever find herself in an aquatic emergency, she knows to respond to the environment not the instructor. Barbara is not a strong swimmer, but she now understands when faced with a dangerous aquatic environment, to float calmly and not panic.

Before Barbara and her mother return home to the Philippines, Mum is continuing to reinforce the survival skills with Barbara and also learning to swim here in Australia. Both mother and child can then translate these life-saving survival skills to their community back home and help further educate everyone on the importance of water safety.

Because, together education and skills are vital in achieving zero drownings.

No Floatation Devices

Floatation devices such as swim vests, arm bands, puddle jumper, water wings or swim trainers are NOT a substitute for supervision. They can give a child a false sense of security in water and create dependant behaviour of being vertical in water.

Unfortunately, the child is not able to stay vertical in the water without them. Infants and children do not have the strength to hold their head up in water. Should they fall into water, which happens to nearly 80% of children who drown, they won’t understand their own buoyancy.

Floatation devices allow children to be in the water for such a long time with their head up, eyes ahead, swimming around comfortably. Then when you take the aids off, they are unable to maintain this posture without them on. Generally speaking most infants that fall into water don’t have these devises on.

At Kids Aquatic Survival School (KASS) we want children to have a realistic perception of what they can do in the water. KASS lessons do not use any floatation devices, aids or goggles when a child is learning the KASS survival and learn to swim program.

WHY?

– Children become accustom to them
– Creates a false sense of security
– Create a dependent behaviour
– They don’t allow the child to understand their buoyancy in the water
– They are comforts kids won’t have if they accidentally fall into a body of water

 

Call 1800 543 779 or email [email protected] to learn more and book your child into our accelerated survival program to increase their water safety.

 

#survivalswimming #swimfloatswim #swimfloatsurvive#drowningprevention #kidsaquaticsurvivalschool #nomoredrownings

 

Aquatic Behaviour

Water safety is an attitude that is built up through repeated experiences. Therefore, BEHAVIOUR in and around water is very IMPORTANT.

The commonly referred terms include head first entries, jumping entries both of which encourage the child to jump and submerge into water whilst the instructor or parent rescues them.

The association of “1,2,3 jump” and I will catch you, is creating a DANGEROUS behaviour for children in and around water. Furthermore, teaching children to associate nursery rhymes and songs such as “humpty dumpty” whilst they fall into the water and rescued by their parents is giving children a false sense of security, because what happens when the parent is not there to catch them?

Children are inherently curious and inquisitive. They don’t perceive danger or have the knowledge to assess an environment to be safe or unsafe. As parents/carers, educators and as a community it is our job to protect them. That doesn’t mean we should remove all possible dangers, because that isn’t reality. We need to equip our children with the skills and knowledge to respond appropriately to dangerous situations and environments. Although certain explorative behaviours are normal, parents and caregivers must provide adequate supervision at all times.

In Australia, 100% of toddler drownings occur when the child is not being supervised and nearly 80% of drownings in young children occur due to FALLS INTO WATER. Yes, we need to be introducing children to safe entry practices, but most importantly the child needs to be skilled to SURVIVE in the water BEFORE they are taught to enter independently.

That’s why at Kids Aquatic Survival School we don’t encourage children to jump into water until fully skilled.

 

Turn, Reach & Grab Safety

KASS lessons provide students with safe, effective opportunities to learn about being in the water and how to respond appropriately to the demands placed on them by that environment.

One of the many vital survival skills we teach children in the KASS Survival and Learn to Swim Program is to turn, reach and grab safety.

At KASS lessons, the training environment is the pool, and therefore safety is the pool edge. This helps to show the child that the wall is secure and safe.

At KASS we discuss goals with the parent and how we intend to realise those goals based on what we observe their child doing in the water each lesson. We teach children the turn, reach and grab safety survival skill by placing the child in different positions in the pool and prompt the child to turn to the wall, which we refer to as wall turns.

Initially the child is placed on different angles to the wall with one of the child’s hands on the wall and his face above the water. The child is placed not facing directly at the wall. They are placed in the water at a slight angle and they have to work on turning and grabbing onto the wall. Every time the child grabs the wall they are to hold with two hands this encourages them to use two hands to hold the wall no matter how they grab onto the wall.

As the child masters one skill we then increase the difficultly in small increments. This would involve a greater distance from the wall so the child’s hand does not touch it and our proximity to the child, so the child begins to problem solve and use the learned aquatic survival skills to reach the wall and grab the edge. We then increase the difficulty again and progress to a sit-in whereby the child in placed into the water from a sitting position out of the water on the pool edge.

The child is always encouraged to turn to the wall/pool edge, NOT the instructor.

We want children to identify the pool edge as safety, because the instructor or parent won’t be in the water with them in an aquatic emergency such as should they accidentally fall into water unnoticed, which is how nearly 80% of toddlers in Australia drown.

Call 1800 543 779 or email [email protected] to learn more about the KASS Survival and Learn to Swim Program

Watch a video explaining the survival technique “turn, reach and grab” here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safety before Smiles

Young children are inherently curious, inquisitive and don’t generally perceive danger. Therefore, as parents we understand the need to set firm boundaries in order to keep our children safe.

Firm boundaries such as, children must be secure in a car seat at all times in a car. When crossing the road, we would ask the child to hold our hand. Many of these boundaries we implement because they are the law, and/or we know these boundaries keep our children safe. Boundaries which we know affect our child’s safety, which we consistently reinforce and are not negotiable.

We need to mirror these same firm, consistent boundaries in an aquatic environment to increase awareness of everyday risks in, on and around water and positively change behaviours and save children’s lives.

According to Royal Life Saving Drowning Report, in Australia, children under the age of 5 years are at the highest risk of drowning, with home backyard swimming pools the leading location for drowning fatalities.

Strategies for prevention include;

  • Active adult supervision
  • Restricting a child’s access to water
  • Water awareness
  • Resuscitation

With a 56% increase in drownings this summer, it is evident that there is still much to do: the tragedy of accidental drowning, which tears families apart, still exists.

“Many Australian children enter into an aquatic experience without any understanding of their personal capabilities or limitations….It is vitally important we provide children with the opportunity to undertake progressive aquatic skill development that considers the experiences and activities that they may be exposed to in the future and provide them with a core set of skills that can be utilised in times of need.” Royal Life Saving NSW

We need to understand how, where and why children drown in order to address the water safety and survival swimming skills our children must learn to prevent such drownings.

  • 64% of toddler drownings occur when the child is not being supervised
  • Accidental falls into water remain the leading activity prior to drowning among children under 5 years
  • Swimming pools account for 67% of all drowning deaths among children under 5 years of age.
  • The child drowned in the pool at their primary residence in 71% of cases

Water safety education is vital.  The skills taught need to be realistic for the chid, given their age and aquatic environment. They need to learn to respect the water and have a realistic understanding of their limits and capabilities.

At Kids Aquatic Survival School, we believe, the focus on “SWIMMING” lessons needs to shift to SURVIVAL lessons. Children need to learn how to SURVIVE in water before they learn to SWIM in it. If a child is always held in the water or uses flotation devices, it can create a false sense of security leading to over confident child with little or no water competence. Water confidence without competence is a dangerous combination.

We teach water competence with a strong focus on survival as the best foundation for a child’s water safety education. We believe teaching survival skills today provides children with a safer tomorrow, so as they are graduating through life from childhood to adolescence, they understand their limitations and don’t over estimate their abilities.

At KASS, competence in survival means the ability to independently;

  • recover from a fall into water
  • roll from front to back
  • float and maintain a back float for at least 60 seconds
  • swim and float in a sequence until they reach safety (if walking age)

We appreciate when teaching life-saving skills such as survival and learn to swim that tears and tantrums may occur. We know that sometimes those tears are often because the child is in a new environment, around new people, tired, unwell or just generally having a bad day. Most children express this emotion through crying and depending on age this may be the child’s only form of communication.

Some children might resist and exert independence in survival swimming lessons, much like when you buckle your child in a car seat. It is a safety precaution, giving your child the best possible chance of survival. Teaching your child boundaries and behavioural expectation in water is just as important as out of water safety precautions. Understanding and validating those feelings can create a positive change in a child’s mood allowing for a progressive lesson. In time as skills are mastered and children learn to manage in the water, the pool no longer seems like such an overwhelming and scary place because the skilled child now poses a level of understanding and confidence.

Eventually the tears fade and are replaced with smiles but more importantly the skills to survive.

 

KASS COVID-19 Update

The Australian Government has published a media release which states;

“Settings like gyms, indoor fitness centres and swimming pools are not required to close at this time providing they meet these requirements for social distancing and hand hygiene. Such venues should take actions to ensure regular high standards of environmental cleaning take place”

“…Social distancing and hygiene practices should include; being able to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres between patrons. hand hygiene products and suitable waste receptacles need to be available, with frequent cleaning and waste disposal.”

At KASS, we are continually reviewing our COVID-19 processes, particularly with social distancing and sanitising and we need your support with attending lessons.

We ask for your cooperation with the below;

Only ONE(1) parent/caregiver attend lessons with their child

To minimise time spent in venues please shower at home pre lessons. If you need to shower your child post lessons, please do so quickly to ensure other parents can safely be in the pool area. If you are early please remain outside and wait until just before your lesson.

Use a towel on surfaces to protect your child and other children

Do not congregate in the venue before or after lessons

Utilise the sanitiser dispensers at entrances

Do not attend lessons if you or your child feel unwell

Please sit 1.5meters away from other patrons

Should you need to cough or sneeze please either leave the premises or cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your elbow

Do not attend lessons if you have travelled internationally or have been in contact with anyone who has been confirmed case of COVID-19

There are no exceptions to this expectation. 

Thank you for your support and cooperation

Team KASS

KASS Response to COVID-19

KASS would like to reassure our customers that you and your child/ren’s health and wellness remains our top priority.

All KASS lessons are and will continue to be delivered privately 1 on 1. Meaning there is only ever 1 instructor per child in the water with a maximum of 3 instructors and 3 children in the pool at any time adhering to the Governments recommendation of small groups/gatherings/events.

KASS are confident should all children and their careers implement hygiene procedures referenced below there is minimal risk of transmission.

Further the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention reports;

“There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools and hot tubs. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (e.g., with chlorine and bromine) of pools and hot tubs should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.”

Therefore all KASS facilities are currently open and fully operational but we’ve implemented a number of precautionary measures in response to the current situation, this includes;

  1. Hand sanitiser dispensers will be installed at entrances, bathrooms and change rooms
  2. Increased communication with our cleaning teams to ensure all pool and surrounds continue to be cleaned to a high standard.
    Continuing to maintain pool water quality at all times within regulations
  3. Water quality at all venues will be maintained in accordance with relevant health department regulations
  4. KASS will continue to encourage students, parents, family member and all visitors to refrain from attending lessons for 14 days if they have been overseas or feel sick.
  5. KASS ask all patrons to monitor the following resources for the latest advice and information;
    • World Health Organisation

How is KASS approaching Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

All KASS franchises are following the advice of the relevant state Department of Health and Human Services which recommends the following to reduce your risk of COVID-19:

  • Please shower at your own residence prior to attending lessons
  • Please only one adult/carer per child attend lessons to minimise the number of attendees at the swim venue
  • Wash hands often with soap and running water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Dry with paper towel or hand dryer
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow
  • Isolate yourself and others in your household for 14 days if you/they have been overseas
  • Isolate yourself and others in your household if you feel sick for 14 days. DHHS handy checklist to assess your risk for COVID-19.
  • Phone your GP first if you need medical attention. They will tell you what to do
  • Don’t wear a face mask if you are well
  • Buy an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with over 60 per cent alcohol
  • Please note should there be a play area at your KASS franchise this may be temporarily packed away until further notice to minimise the risk

KASS are also closely monitoring recommendations of ASCTA, Swim Australia and all relevant State and Federal Government Health Authorities

KASS will continue to monitor the situation and update our customers and guests accordingly.

KASS facilities will continue to operate as usual and regular participation is encouraged.

Reality Check

The 2019 Royal Life Saving Drowning Report was released this month and it’s a crude and shocking reminder of the lives lost and the lives left behind forever morning their loved ones to a preventable death.

860 drowning incidents occurred in Australia 2018-2019.

New South Wales recorded the highest record of fatal drowning deaths, 98.

It’s not a number. These are people.

Tragically 276 fatal drownings and a further 584 experienced a non fatal drowning which could result in brain damage and/or long term disabilities according to the Royal Life Saving Drowning Report 2019.

 

19 of those lives lost were children aged 0 – 4 years and based on the above statistics a further 40 children would have been hospitalised.

 

That’s a BUS full of kids, or

Over 4 x Rugby League teams, or

2 x FULL kindergarten classes.

 

The main activity prior to drowning for children aged 0 – 4 years is FALLS INTO WATER which usually happens in SWIMMING POOLS.

This could be at

  1. Home backyard pool
  2. Friends or Relatives
  3. Neighbours
  4. Family Day Care
  5. Public pool
  6. Resort/hotel pool when on holidays

 

Any of the above locations require ACTIVE ADULT SUPERVISION 100% of the time when children are IN or AROUND water.

However, consider this common scenario:

  1. You’re at a friend’s house who has a backyard pool. Adults talking in the kitchen having a cup of tea and kids safely playing in the bedroom or lounge nearby.
  2. Children decide they want to play outside. They gain access via an unlocked or open door or climb through a pet door. A fun game between friends. They work together and carry a plastic chair to the pool fence. One climbs on the chair, reaches the latch, pulls, unlocks and opens the gate. Both toddlers now have access to water in UNDER 60 seconds.
  3. Parents start to think the kids are quiet and look around the house…..

It’s happens that quickly.

If your child could recover from a fall into water, roll from their front to the back and remaining in a floating and breathing posture for 60 seconds it might give that parent enough time to realise they are not inside the house and check the pool. Hopefully to find their child calmly, safely floating face up in the water.

Yes, other barriers to entry are necessary. But this skill is the last barrier. The last option for your child. If they did not have this skill, the last option would be finding your child face down. And a child face down, lifeless and blue is another statistic.

Swimming Progression

Children’s swimming progression in the KASS Survival and Learn to Swim Program is accelerated.

In just WEEKS parents see results.

Once children finish the intensive KASS Survival and Learn to Swim Program and commence weekly KASS Transitional lessons, their progression may appear slower.

This is due to Transitional lessons becoming more technical and skill based. Whilst the survival skills initially taught are difficult, survival skills are essential in forming the foundation for safety in and around water and learning stroke.

The progression to stroke development lessons at KASS also involves more coordination, muscle memory and strength which for each child varies and can impact their progression.

Read more about what type of swimming lessons are suitable for your child here

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