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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.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swimming and cognitive function

Swimming improves a child’s cognitive function

 A four-year study of over 7,000 children by the Griffith University in Australia found that swimming children were more advanced in physical and mental development when compared to their non-swimming peers. Specifically, the 3- to 5-year-olds who swam were 11 months ahead of the normal population in verbal skills, six months ahead in math skills, and two months ahead in literacy skills. They were also 17 months ahead in story recall and 20 months ahead in understanding directions.

How does swimming help?

Bilateral cross-patterning movements, which use both sides of the body to carry out an action, help your baby’s brain grow.

Cross-patterning movements build neurons throughout the brain, but especially in the corpus callosum, which facilitates communication, feedback, and modulation from one side of the brain to another.

Research states this improves:

  • reading skills
  • language development
  • academic learning
  • spatial awareness

Source: griffith.edu.au and healthline.com and seaottersswim.com

#teachthemyoung #swimmingimprovesbrainfunction #watersafety#childsafety #kidsaaquaticsurvivalschool

 

No Goggles

In KASS lessons we DO NOT permit goggles in the 8 week Survival Program.

Goggle dependency can become a genuine safety issue.

81% of children under 4 years of age who drown do so due to falls into water. Most children in this situation are fully clothed and not wearing goggles. Children who become accustom to wearing goggles may panic, keeping their eyes closed instead of keeping their eyes open to look for safety or how to get out of trouble. Therefore it is important children do not develop a mindset of which they cannot swim without their goggles on.

Goggles can also be cumbersome when they; don’t fit well, don’t seal correctly and for some children prove difficult to put on and take off independently.

At KASS, we introduce the intermittent use of goggles at the transitional stage as they:
– Encourage the child to put their face underwater
– Provide a different sensory experience and perspective
– Enhance vision when diving for submerged objects
– Encourage head down and underwater swimming

Call 1800 543 789 or email info@infantswim.com.au if you would like to know more about our accelerated Survival program tailored to children aged from 6 months to 6 years.

#nogoggles #watersafety #swimsurvival#kidsaquaticsurvivalschool

Original Image source: Puddle Ducks * has been edited with text and lines

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