With the holiday season rapidly approaching, many parents are planning their trips to see family and friends. While you may be looking forward to good tidings and cheer, it is important to remember this exciting time also brings potential hazards. Most people tend to categorize drowning as a summer safety risk, but Jordan Dunlap, Certified Infant Aquatic Instructor and Owner of Infant Aquatics of Lubbock, stresses that this danger is present 365 days out of the year.

"One out of every four drownings will occur between October and December. What many people don't realize is that these fatalities don't always happen in your own backyard. They happen in hotels and at relatives houses when families are traveling. They also occur in bathtubs, toilets, ponds, and even buckets of water in the backyard."

While we all trust that our relatives homes are safe, it is likely that their doors, toilets, and pools are not baby proofed. Not only that, but you will likely not be adhering to your regular routine and there can be more distractions during your time away from home. This makes accidents inevitable, but when you consider the fact that a child can drown in less than 60 seconds, the need for interventions becomes much more important.

Thankfully, Infant Aquatics of Lubbock has their last round of survival swim lessons coming up at the beginning of October. For a period of four to six weeks, your child will learn how to save themself in they were to suddenly fall into a body of water.

Infant Aquatics
Photo Credit: Heidi Kaye

"We start with breath control. Through hand and body signals, I teach them to take that breath, close their mouth, and blow the air out of their nose. By the end of week one, we are going to have a good swim. Then, we work hard on that float. A person's first natural reaction when they need a breath is to pop their head up. This puts them in the vertical position and their legs are going to drop. I work to teach your child how to turn their heads and roll into a float instead. This keeps them safely at the water's surface. Finally, we put it all together. We chain the swim with the float, and once they have mastered this, we can do their clothes test," Dunlap said.

This step can be terrifying for the parents to watch, but it is a crucial part of your child learning this lifesaving skill. Why? When we think of swimming, you picture a bathing suit, but if your child were to fall into a body of water, especially in the Fall and Winter months, they will be wearing layers of clothing that will quickly weigh them down.

"In winter clothes, the added weight will always be at least equal to the body weight of the child, if not more. With my child, he was four and I put him in winter hunting gear. At that point, he weighed 41 pounds. After his test, his wet clothes weighed 54 pounds," Dunlap stressed.

Infant Aquatics of Lubbock
Photo Credit: Heidi Kaye, Townsquare Media

During the test, the child is dropped into the pool at several different angles to replicate various scenarios that could occur if they were to fall in unexpectedly. Once this is complete, they go back to perfecting their swim. "It's just really ironing out that swim-float-swim, getting them confident in the water, and then letting them have fun!"

Lessons are four times a week for ten minutes a day. Classes start October 3rd and parents have until September 30th to sign up. Best of all, because this is the off-season, lessons are being offered at a reduced rate! Finally, for parents worried about the weather, they actually install a dome over the pool when the temperatures begin to drop and they keep the pool temperature at a comfortable 94 degrees.

Children as young as six months old who are sitting unassisted can take this amazing course. While this may seem young, drowning doesn't discriminate. Additionally, research shows that "swimming lessons [are] associated with an 88% reduction in the risk of drowning in the 1- to 4-year-old children". Remember that this is an insurance policy on your child's life. It is also a way to introduce them to a fun, healthy, and lifelong pastime! You can sign up for lessons on the Infant Aquatics website or you can call them at 806-412-4727.

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