Welcome back, today’s core value is SAFETY. This one is simple, but so foundational. Safety is the biggest reason anyone learns to swim: to keep themselves safe, to keep their children safe, to be able to save others if something goes wrong in the water. While water can be fun and silly and playful, it is also dangerous to land-based humans who are unfamiliar with how to float and maneuver in the water. Safety is very serious and has a lot of components. Below is a starter list of things to look for to ensure your child is safe at swim lessons.
Instructors pass a background check and have liability insurance. This is a baseline measure of accountability.
Instructors are CPR, First Aid, and Lifeguard Certified. The Lifeguard certification is important because the course teaches participants signs of drowning and preventative measures, so they learn to anticipate problems. The course also requires that participants be able to tread without their hands for 180 seconds, dive down to the bottom of the pool to retrieve a weighted object, and be able to swim 300 yards without stopping.
Communication during “the handoff” is clear. Is it the parent’s responsibility to watch the child or the instructor’s? When does this responsibility shift and how do you know when that shift has occurred? The instructor should clearly state when they are taking over this role and when they are returning the responsibility back to the student’s caregiver. This will prevent lack of supervision as a safety risk.
Lessons stop during thunder and lightning. This one can be really disappointing for students when lessons get interrupted and frustrating for instructors and parents alike when schedules get off track and make-ups start to accumulate. However, as the saying goes, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Instructors teach and enforce safety rules. The instructor should teach their student to walk on the deck, put their toes on the edge of the coping before they jump in, jump far from the edge and face forward (no gainers or flips), wait patiently on the stairs when they are waiting their turn or taking a break, and more.
Instructors listen and willingly converse if you have concerns. The instructor should be alert and you should feel calm while they are in charge of the lesson. If they’re making you uncomfortable, make sure to talk with them, express your concerns, ask them questions and work to come to an agreement where everyone feels reassured and safe and the student can be pushed to progress.
Parents or guardians are asked to stay during the lesson. This responsible request shows that a company takes liability seriously and wants parents to be involved.
There are so many nuances and details that make a swim lesson safe or unsafe. Use your judgment and trust your instincts. Above all, communicate with your swim school and instructor to compliment their trustworthiness or express your concerns.