Tag Archive Aquatic Survival Skills

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.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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