Summertime is the season for being outside and playing in the pool. Being a swimmer for 18 years made me fall in love with swimming, and I went to the pool daily. Going to the pool during the hottest days was great, but the weather I loved while at the pool was rainy and hot. I love it when it rains on hot summer days because it gives the pool a different atmosphere. Nothing is better than jumping into the pool while rain hits your body, and you get a rush of warmth from the pool. When it rains, the air is cold, but it makes the cold pool feel warm when you get into it. If you can’t tell, I love being at the pool. So when I turned 15, I became a lifeguard where my family had a membership. I was a lifeguard for 6 years and became the Assistant Swim Coach for 2 years. Prior to that, I was an Assistant Swim Coach for the Hawk Hill Swimming team for 6 years. Overall, I have been a swim coach for 8 years. The youngest I have taught was a 6-month-old baby; the oldest was a 45-year-old. 

I am confident in teaching kids and adults because of my 18 years of experience. Now I want to give you steps to prepare your baby or child for what to do if they fall into a pool. Obviously, falling into a pool and not knowing how to swim terrifies the child and the parents. 

How to teach your baby/child how to swim?

Step 1: Once in the pool at a shallow part, hold your baby/child on their back; you should have one hand behind their neck and the other hand under their butt. This position will get them use to water in their ears. Children often hate the feeling of water in their ears and will try to keep their ears out of the water. This step will teach them what floating feels like. Ensure their chin is up in the air and their head slightly back. Children are often scared in this position, but you need to remind them that you have them and that they are safe. Once you feel that they are comfortable in this position, you can move on to step 2.

Step 2: After holding your baby/child on their back with both hands, you will only keep them with one hand. Since you have one hand behind their neck and the other hand under their butt, you are only going to hold them mostly with your hand under the neck. This will cause your child to keep themselves afloat with a little bit of your help. Now that you removed the hand from under their butt, this will cause their legs to slowly drop underwater. You will then tell them to get their belly up in the air; this will cause the feet to rise back up to the surface. If their legs start to drop and the only thing out of the water is their head, use your hand that went under the butt and nicely guide their legs back up to the surface. Once they can keep their legs up while you hold their neck, they can move on to step 3. 

Step 3: Now that your child can keep their legs up, it’s time for them to float by themselves. This part might seem scary because your kids will go underwater a few times. But that is okay because you will help them. As you hold your child with one hand behind the neck, you will slowly let go and see if they can do it independently. If they start going under, give them a push-up and hold them up for a bit, then try to let go again. This will take a lot of tries, but they will soon understand it. When doing this step, make sure their head is back with their chin in the air. This will make it easier and will remind them to keep their belly up. Once they are floating on their own, move to step 4. 

Step 4: Yay! Your child is floating by themselves! Now that they can float, we will teach them how to kick with their legs while on their back. This step will help them get to the wall if they fall in or are tired and need rest. While your child is lying on their back, they will kick. While kicking, ensure their knees stay underwater and do not bend them to their chest. Once they can kick on their back well, they can go to step 5.

Step 5: Now that your child can float on their back and kick themselves to the wall, they need to know how to get up from underwater. You are going to have your child jump into the water. Once they jump into the water, have them raise their arms above their heads and kick immediately. Once they get above water, have them float on their back and kick to the wall. Keep doing this until you, as the parent, feel comfortable. 

These steps help you teach your child how to save themselves if something happens. Even with these steps, you should supervise your children at pools. Lifeguards are there to protect and save children from drowning or getting injured; they are not babysitters.