Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children one through four.
Teaching them to float is a critical survival technique used to help prevent drowning. While it’s relatively easy to teach a child to float, teaching a child to get into their float is more challenging.
Children may feel uncertain and may not like the feeling of being on their back. They also may not like the feeling of water in there ears. With some consistency they will quickly acclimate to the sensation of floating on their back.
Young children don’t have the strength and stamina to lift their head out of the water for a breath (sometimes referred to as pop-up breathing) for any significant length of time. They can quickly become overwhelmed and begin to panic making it less likely to get themself to safety. The ability for them to get themselves on their back to float can literally be the difference between life and death.
Once on their back they can rest and breathe for an indefinite length of time. They can rest and wait for help to arrive or they can use their legs to kick themselves to safety. Either of these options keeps your child face up and allows them to breathe.
Teaching the child to roll over to their back for breath during swimming allows them to swim longer distances. A small child has the ability to swim the entire length of the pool by rolling on their backs for breath and turning back over to swim since they are able to rest and breathe whenever needed. The roll over breathing technique also mimics the movement for side breathing in freestyle swimming.
It’s often difficult for kids to learn freestyle side breathing after learning pop up breathing. Front or pop-up breathing sets up a tendency to lift the head rather than turning. Learning to roll and breath will easily transition into freestyle side breathing.
Lastly, teaching children to swim and roll over to breathe allows children to swim independently. Anytime a child learns to do something new independently, it builds their confidence and makes them more eager to try new things.
Giving children the ability to handle themselves in the water is a gift that will last a lifetime