When she first got in the pool, Aliexis bounced around like Tigger. She liked it, as long as her head was above the water. This is SUCH COMMON behavior among many children (and adults). Let me tell you why this is DANGEROUS…
A child can drown in less than an inch of water.
I know it sounds crazy, but it is absolutely true. A sink, toilet, bathtub, puddle…they can all be hazards in and around your home. I’m not telling you this to freak you out- I’m telling you so that you’ll stop. And think. And be aware. And be careful. And watch your kids.
Just because Alexis can touch the bottom of the pool and jump around does not mean she knows how to swim. What happens when she slips and her head goes under? What happens when she bounces into deep water where she can’t touch the bottom of the pool? What happens? She panics.
This is why it is so important for her to be able to get her breath and either: A) roll on her back and float or B) put her face in the water and swim.
Alexis seemed to love learning how to not only float, but kick on her back without sinking. This made her day. I’d start her out, then she would roll over on her back and kick with a big smile on her face. If her legs started to sink, I would yell, “Get your toes up! Make little splashes! Point your toes like a ballerina!” She was awesome. By the end, she didn’t even need my help to start on her back!
Alexis, like her younger sister Aydan, told me exactly what she did and did not want to do. She did not want to go in the deep end. Period. Well, I do love a challenge, especially from an eight-year-old. Towards the end of the lesson, I made a nonchalant comment about going to the deep end before we got out. Alexis whipped her head around to look at me with terror in her eyes.
“I don’t go in the deep end,” she laughed uncomfortably. “Oh, you’re fine,” I said. “I’ll be right there.” We got out and walked to the deep end of the pool, then climbed down the ladder and hung on to the steps. Alexis was not having any part of it. I laughed as I pointed to the bottom of the pool, “Oh, come on silly. We’re not swimming down there. We’re just gonna swim on top of the water, like we’ve been doing the whole time.”
I let go of the stairs and floated in the water in front of her, looked at her and said, “Your turn”. And she did it. She let go and floated on top of the water with her eyes wide, looking at the bottom of the pool six feet away. To Alexis, it seemed like 6,000 feet. I’m so proud of her! See our Project: Face in Water Facebook page for more photos and videos of Alexis, as well as all other participants.
For more information on how to create your own “recipe for prevention,” check out Safer 3 Water Safety Foundation’s “Where is your risk?” page.
* Once again, A HUGE THANK YOU to my nephew, Cameron, for being a great photographer and taking all of the awesome pics and videos! xo