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Author Archive Natasha

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.

 

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.

 

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

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 info@infantswim.com.au to learn more about the KASS Survival and Learn to Swim Program

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

2018 Term Information

NSW KASS pools and offices will be closed from 23 December to 2 January 2018

NSW School Holidays are from Monday 25 December to Friday 26 January 2018

Survival Lessons continue as normal in School Holidays

 

Term 1 is from Monday 29th January to Friday 13 April

Duration: 11 week Term (10 weeks for Monday, Friday and Saturday Lessons due to Public Holidays falling on 30 and 31 March and 2 April)

Stroke lessons are a 10 week term due to public holiday falling on 31 March.

Term cost: $385 ($350 for Monday,, Friday or Saturday lessons)

Discount: If paid before 26 January 2018 term payment is reduced to $350 ($315 for Monday, Friday or Saturday lessons)

Payment type accepted: Cash or Direct Deposit

Cancel: If you don’t wish to continue we would ask that you email us atinfo@infantswim.com.au before 15 January 2018

Continuing lessons

If you have a current booking you are automatically enrolled for next term. On Monday 15 January 2018, a confirmation email will be sent from bookings@schoolinterviews.com.au. It will details your current booking and a link to the booking system. If you are happy with your current booking you are not required to take further action.

Changes to lessons

On Monday 15 January 2018 at 7pm, the booking system will open to enable adjustment of your current time slot. If you are not enrolled in Transitional lessons, on Monday 15 January 018 at 7pm please click here and follow the instruction to book into a suitable time and day. Please do not try to make changes before this time as the system will still be in use for makeup lessons for the current term.

Cancel lessons

If you do not wish to continue lessons we would ask that you email us at info@infantswim.com.au before 15 January 2018. On Thursday 18 January 2018 at 7pm, we will be closing all bookings. If you have not removed yourself you will then be invoices for Term 1 of Transitional lessons.

School Holiday Lessons are from 3rd January to 25th January 2018*

School holiday lessons are not compulsory. Should you book for school holiday lessons, please note non-attendance will be charged.

Coogee

Lesson type: Transitional
Day/s: Wednesday
Times: 7am – 9am
Bookings open Thursday 14 December 2017

Unless a booking has been confirmed through school interviews we will assume you will NOT be attending lessons through the school holidays.

Lilli Pilli

Lesson type: Transitional
Day/s: Monday – Friday
Times: 9am – 10am
Bookings open Thursday 14 December 2017

Unless a booking has been confirmed through school interviews we will assume you will NOT be attending lessons through the school holidays.

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 info@infantswim.com.au to learn more and book your child into our accelerated survival program to increase their water safety.

 

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

 

A child’s response to water

Children can respond differently to water.

The article referenced below by North Shore Pediatric Therapy provides a valuable insight into the different sensory stages children experience with swimming, such as;

  1. Motor Planning
  2. Proprioception
  3. Vestibular
  4. Tactile
  5. Auditory

At Kids Aquatic Survival School all instructors are trained in the areas of;

  1. Child development and learning theory
  2. Behavioural science
  3. Anatomy
  4. Physiology and physics as they relate to infants and young children in the aquatic environment.

All KASS lessons are private, one instructor per student. This enables KASS instructors to tailor the lesson to each individual child, based on behaviour and ability. It also maximises the effectiveness of the lesson with 100% swim time and eliminates the distraction other children in the same lesson may have on accomplishing the goal from the lesson.

At KASS, we provide a safe and controlled environment, which allows the child to learn through consistency and positive reinforcement which builds tonnes of confidence!

Call 1800 543 779 to discuss our programs or visit our Lessons and Techniques page

Sensory Strategies for Swimmers

#swimfloatsurvive #competencebuildsconfidence #kidsaquaticsurvivalschool

Royal Life Saving Drowning Report 2017

The Royal Life Saving Drowning Report for 2016/17 serves as a sobering reminder the barriers advocated by the industry to protect our children in and around water are failing.

  • 32% increase in the drowning deaths in children aged 0-4 years
  • 45% of children aged 0-4 years drowned in a backyard swimming pool and is the leading location of drowning deaths in children aged 0 – 4 years.
  • 76% of children who drown do so due to falls into water.

“There were between 600 and 700 hospitalisations due to ‘non-fatal drownings’ each year in Australia and children under five made up almost half of those.”

~Royal Lifesaving Australia national manager for research and policy Amy Peden~

  • The latest research by Royal Life Saving – Australia states between 1 July 2002 and 30 June 2015 there were 6,158 cases of non-fatal drowning in Australia that resulted in hospitalisation. As such, when a victim survives a drowning incident, they rarely walk away unharmed.tragically, many of them suffer irreversible brain damage. It is likely to severely impact the rest of their life, and the lives of their loved ones. Often referred to as the forgotten or invisible victims as it is usually the drowning victims who are mostly covered in the media.
    * There are an average of 474 non-fatal drowning incidents each year.
    * Non-fatal incidents have increased by 42% in 13 years.
    * Young children aged 0-4 years accounted for 42% of all non-fatal drowning incidents.
    * Non-fatal drowning incidents in children aged 0-4 years is between 5 and 14 times higher than any other age group.
    * Swimming pools are the leading location for non-fatal drowning, accounting for 36% of incidents.
    * Children under the age of five years account for 78% of non-fatal drowning

“We want them to understand that drowning isn’t just about children dying or having miraculous survival stories – there’s a whole group of children who experience non-fatal drownings and are left with a whole range of devastating injuries”

~ Michael Morris – Samuel Morris Foundation ~

We need a hands on approach to water safety. Teaching a person to float, breathe and wait for help is a life saving skill which can be translated across all ages and aquatic environments.

People don’t drown due to a lack of swimming ability. They drown because they are unable to hold and maintain an effective body posture for breathing.

At Kids Aquatic Survival School, we are addressing the drowning epidemic by teaching infants and young children aquatic survival skills.

Such as, how to:
– roll from a front to a back float
– maintain an independent back float and breathing posture
– reach, grab and turn to safety
– combine swimming and floating to breathe and break up large distances to reach safety or the edge.

But most importantly once the child has completed the KASS Survival program and is fully skilled, the child simulates an accidental fall into water. This allows the child to apply their newly learnt skills in a safe and controlled environment wearing full winter clothing including shoes and nappy. This is a vital step because it is a very different sensory experience swimming or floating in clothes. We do this as the RLSS National Drowning report notes 76% of children who drown, do so due to falls into water. It usually occurs when they are fully clothed and have wandered to water unnoticed. It is a crucial skill for the child to learn, so should they ever fall into water fully clothed, it won’t be the first time they have performed this skill.

#Teachthemyoung
#Floattobreathe

If you would like to read the whole report Click Here

 

 

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 info@infantswim.com.au to book your child into our accelerated Survival Program tailored to infants from 6 months to 6 years of age.

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