JUMP!’s top five tips for water safety over the summer break
By Ian Campbell — Dad to three boys and founder of JUMP! Swim Schools
As a Dad to three active young boys, with a backyard pool and a selection of Gold Coast beaches at our doorstep, swimming forms an integral part of our family’s summer holiday lifestyle.
For the Campbell clan, there is no better way to beat the heat and spend some family time together than hanging about in the water.
So for us, water safety forms a big part in ensuring our holidays are fun.
Away from family life, I have built water safety measures into the ethos of JUMP! Swim Schools in a way that makes swim instruction just as much about fun as it is about safety.
MY TOP FIVE TIPS
- Start learn-to-swim lessons from three months of age.
- Keep lessons up throughout the year to retain water confidence.
- Always watch your children. And join them in the water when you can.
- Create fun, consistent rules about swimming.
- Swimming forms the foundation to a lifestyle in and around water.
Start learn-to-swim lessons from three months of age
I am a strong advocate for children to be swimming before they start school and at JUMP! Swim Schools this begins with a dedicated babies program. Babies are capable of amazing things and our tailored curriculum uses the best practices from learn-to-swim programs around the world to maximise their physical development in learning the fundamental aspects of swimming.
At JUMP!, the first class that parents can start their child in is the Duckling class for children aged 3-9 months. These babies will graduate competent in holding their breath for up to 5 seconds, with basic mobility skills and are able to float on their back with support.
Keep lessons up throughout the year to retain water confidence
Swimming is a confidence-based activity and the best way to develop and retain this confidence is by starting lessons at a young age and continuing lessons throughout the year. Children also forget, it’s as simple as that. So it’s important to keep them practising swimming all year round so they can build on their abilities and not regress.
At JUMP!, our pools are indoors, free of distraction and the water is heated to 32 degrees all year round. It makes for the perfect environment for little swimmers. Teaching your children to swim is not only a safety measure but a lifestyle choice — your lifestyle is better with children who swim and have fun with you in the pool and beach.
Always watch your children. Better yet, join them in the water!
Supervising your children in and around water is a must, not matter how skilled they are at swimming. Beaches can get packed, phones at home can be distracting, children are naturally drawn to water and accidents happen. Supervising doesn’t just mean watching them, you should always be at arms length.
But while supervising is important, jumping in and joining them on their journey through water is way more fun. I love nothing more than playing games and enjoying the company of my kids in the water. It’s a great bonding experience.
Create fun, consistent rules around swimming
Rules don’t have to be boring, but they are there to serve a purpose. For some parents, their safety measures are not allowing children in a pool unless they have their swimmers on — children will struggle to dress themselves in bathers and always ask Mum for help.
At JUMP! Swim Schools, we are building a culture of fun and excitement about learning to swim and water safety. Our safety measure is fun and consistent — we start every class with our welcome song. This is where the child is named and welcome in a round robin chorus with claps.
Swimming forms the foundation to a lifestyle in and around water
Water isn’t always visible or in a clean, heated pool. And our lifestyle in and around water isn’t just restricted to swimming in our backyard pool or learn-to-swim facility. The iconic Australian lifestyle centres around water-based activities whether it’s surfing or sailing on the coast, rowing or skiing on our rivers, fishing or canoeing in our lakes and dams, or enjoying family time in a hotel resort.
At the very foundation of these activities is water confidence and this confidence and ensuing journey through water can begin as early as three months of age through JUMP! Swim Schools.
I am proud to say that JUMP! is now Australia’s largest national swim school provider comprising 44 sites that are teaching swimming to 13,600 babies and children.
We are committed to ensuring every child has the opportunity to learn swimming as a life skill and are doing this by opening sites in rural areas and regional communities lacking a public swimming pool as well as high growth regions without adequate pool facilities.
The more children we have learning the life skill of swimming, the more chance we will see drowning statistics decline.