We hear about it too much, it seems. A baby or toddler drowning. Many times in the care of responsible parents. It’s the leading cause of unintentional death for children.
I’ve written posts for Hiccups before on the importance of water safety, but in light of another recent drowning, I’d like to share my personal experience with a program my 3-year-old son is in.
Infant Swimming Resource is a program I found after a user on NewsOK.com posted a comment on a story about a baby drowning a couple of months ago. Her comment was, “If the family only knew about ISR.” That comment prompted me to look into this program.
I went to their Web site, www.infantswim.com, and watched the videos and read about parents’ experiences with the program. I have to say, I was instantly impressed. (Click below to see the video.)
These babies and toddlers weren’t just swimming, they were performing self-rescue skills. I found an instructor in the Oklahoma City-area using the online locator and got him started in the lessons.
I’ve had my son in swimming lessons before, but have been very disappointed with the results. He was only swimming with a floatie on or by using a noodle and these give children, and their parents, a false sense of security. Children don’t fall into pools with floaties on. If they did, no child would drown.
What ISR does is look at all aspects of a child. The program uses many fields of study in their approach – psychology, biology, physiology and anatomy. And most children go through the program and are skilled in self-rescue swimming in only 4-6 weeks.
When my son started, he had never even been put underwater. He never floated on his own. He was terrified of going underwater. Now he is in his last week in the program. He can swim underwater, turn to float to get his breath then continue swimming to the side of the pool. Without the aid of any flotation device. If you knew my son, you would know this is truly impressive.
The lessons are one-on-one with a highly trained instructor. Because repetition is key, they are every weekday for the full 4-6 weeks. To prevent water fatigue, the lessons are only 10 minutes long.
I urge every parent to check out this program. I am truly impressed with what my son has learned and with the professionalism and knowledge of the instructors. It’s a small price to pay and small amount of time to spend on preventing the senseless tragedy of losing a child to drowning.
We all want our children to be safe this Halloween and with a few simple reminders, it can be a fun and safe time for everyone. Safekids.org has ten good rules of thumb to follow.
The first five are for trick-or-treaters:
1. Cross the street safely at corners. Use traffic signals and crosswalks. Walk, don’t run, and always look left, right then left again before crossing.
2. Stay on sidewalks or paths. No sidewalks? Then walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
3. Slow down, stay alert. Keep an eye out for cars turning or backing up. Don’t dart into the street or cross in between parked cars.
4. Young kids should always be with an adult. Especially those younger than 12.
5. Costumes should be safe. Reflective tap is essential. If possible, choose a light-colored costume. Choose nontoxic face paint over a mask that can obstruct a child’s vision. Have kids carry glow sticks and flashlights. Make sure they can be seen.
The last five are for drivers:
6. SLOW DOWN. Especially in residential neighborhoods and school zones. Most often, trick-or-treating is done between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m.
7. Be especially alert. Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs. Kids can be unpredictable so be on guard.
8. Enter and exit driveways slowly and carefully.
9. Reduce distractions when driving. Don’t talk on your phone or text. It only takes a second to miss a child darting out in front of your car. Concentrate fully on the road and your surroundings.
10. Keep your headlights on so you can spot kids at a greater distance. Children may not be able to see your vehicle.
Let’s keep these 10 important tips in mind so everyone has a safe and happy Halloween.
Ever wonder what the Jonas Brothers’ mom must be thinking these days as her boys deal with megastardom?
Turns out she’s thinking about some of the same things we “regular” moms are – how to keep the clan close, which battles to wage with the kids and which to forget and so on.
Denise Jones is set to speak at an iMom event at a Brooklyn school on Friday, Oct. 23. The nonprofit organization iMom provides support for moms in school and online. The organization has monthly events called iMom Morning, at 350 public schools across the nation.
Here’s some of her advice, some personal principles she’s acquired on her own:
1. Put in the rug time. “I called our family’s spontaneous father-and-sons games “rug time” or “rearranging the living room without license.” But without a word, the boys and their dad called it love. I learned that no carpet or piece of furniture is worth more than bonding that happens in the rug time.”
2. Cook when you can. “Life on the road wreaks havoc on kitchen togetherness but I love to cook and I’ve learned to do it as much as I can. Something’s very comforting about eating food mom cooks.”
3. Never mind the hair. “Moms also know this lesson as ‘choose your battles.’ As issues come up, I’ve learned to weigh each for its big-picture significance and adjust my response. Some things, like a teenager’s hair, I let go.”
4. Buy the drums. “Your daughter wants to play softball? Find a team. Your son wants to sing? Encourage it. Someone’s good at drawing? Quick: paper and colors. At times you have to study your kids. Other times their gifts hit you full force. Whatever the case, give them a chance — then stand back and give them room.”
5. Celebrate the wrinkle cream. “In a store once, I saw a wrinkle cream and mentioned it to the boys that I like it. Next Mother’s Day, I’m unwrapping the wrinkle cream and felt like crying! But the sweet thing is, my sons had heard me and wanted to please me.”
6. Trust the detours. First the news of Nick’s diabetes brought shock. Then we responded as a family. We learned about diabetes, followed the guidelines and stayed the course — and our eyes opened to others with health issues. Bad news has been a back door blessing.”
7. Stay grateful. “With privilege comes responsibility and we’re grateful for all of it. Yes, everything. Our flight is held up? We’re grateful to be going. Our hotel reservation is one room short? We’ll sleep on the floor. Life isn’t perfect, but in every circumstance, our job is to manage our response.”
8. Sit close, hug often. “Our family speaks the language of hugs and we speak it liberally. I’ve learned that when words aren’t enough, holding my child says volumes. Kids outgrow laps but never hugs.”
9. Set internal pillars. “The world presses in with schedules, expectations and exhaustion. How my children withstand that has everything to do with what’s inside them. We don’t just assume our kids will pick up good inner structures such as honor, self-respect, honesty and kindness. We talk about these things and praise our kids when those qualities show.”
10. Be the mom. “My kids don’t need me to be a buddy, a sidekick or a maid: They need me to be a mom. Kids need a mom to set limits, set the example and set out what they can be and do. Anyone can be a friend. Only the mom can be the mom. That’s the highest calling — a a big reason I’m big on iMom.”
For more information about iMom, go online to www.iMom.com.
If so, you may want to check out the playgroups offered by the Oklahoma City County Health Department. They have several in the metro area.
Playgroups are FREE and for children from birth to 36 months old and their parents. Play clothes are suggested.
Parents will be able to play with their kids and meet other parents. Facilitators will also be there to talk about behavior of young children, language, age-appropriate play activities and positive parenting.
Here are some dates & locations:
Edmond: Peace Lutheran Church, 2600 E Danforth Rd.
Nov. 5, 19 and Dec. 3, 17.
Sessions are 9 to 10 a.m. and 10:15 to 11:15 a.m.
NW Oklahoma City: Mayfair Church of Christ, 2340 NW 50.
Oct. 28, Nov. 25 and Dec. 9.
Sessions are 2 to 3 p.m.
Midwest City: Doctor’s Tower, 3rd floor, 6912 E Reno.
Nov. 10, 24 and Dec. 8, 22.
Sessions are 10 to 11 a.m.
To participate, you must pre-register by calling 425-4412. And check out the health department’s schedule of upcoming parenting workshops by going to http://www.cchdoc.com/ and clicking on the Parent Express Newsletter on the right-hand side.
When tragedy hits a family, you can’t help sometimes compare the situation to your own family.
Especially when it is the death of a mother who leaves young children behind.
Shock is the initial feeling I felt when I heard my friend Karen Baker had died Sunday. She and I had been co- assistant leaders for our daughters’ Girl Scout troop, and then co-leaders.
Our children had attended the same daycare and then the same schools. Her children were similar in age to two of my children.
Karen was always smiling, laughing … You always felt good around her.
How saddening was my second thought. Her children. Her husband. Why?
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999, my first reaction was fear, but it was quickly followed by a deep, sinking feeling that I might not be around for my children, then ages 1 and almost 5.
Karen’s children are middle school and high school ages, still very young. They still needed their mother.
My heart breaks for this family. And it also renews the worries.
Whether you’re a mother or father, you always want to be there for your children.
– Linda Lynn