Tag: children

Kids and swim ear plugs: What you need to know

For many families, splashing in the backyard or community pool or heading to the nearest beach to cool off in the water is a major part of summer fun. Before you get your pool passes for the season, find out about how to protect your children’s ears when they start enjoying time in the water. Swim ear plugs are often the best solution, but how do you know if your child needs them and what types are the best?

The case for swim ear plugs

For children with recurrent ear infections such as swimmer’s ear (otitis externa), infections of the middle ear (otitis media) or ear tubes, the best bet is often swim ear plugs. These custom plugs keep ears dry preventing water containing harmful bacteria to get trapped inside the ear.

swimmers ear and hearing loss
Swimmer’s ear can be extremely painful for
children. Ear plugs can be an excellent remedy
to avoid this condition. 

Many doctors recommend swim ear plugs for children that have ear tubes. Ear tubes are small cylinders that have been placed through the eardrum in the case of recurring middle ear infections in order to allow fluid to drain. Other doctors recommend regular use of swim ear plugs only when diving or swimming in untreated water, such as lakes, rivers and oceans.

The argument for limited use of plugs for children with ear tubes is predicated on the fact that surface tension of the water will prevent any water from entering the ear tubes, so unless a child is swimming 3 feet or more under water, they should be safe. To that end, children with ear tubes also should wear swim ear plugs whenever ears are submerged in soapy water in the bathtub. Soap acts as a surfactant, or lubricant, to reduce the surface tension and will allow the water to enter the tubes.

Even without ear tubes, swimming can pose risks for children with current ear infections or previous surgery. Although swimming doesn’t cause middle ear infections, swim ear plugs should be worn so any water pollutants don’t make an existing infection worse. Keep in mind also that underwater swimming can cause painful pressure changes for children with ear infections. And in the case of a ruptured acute otitis media, also known as an ear infection with a ruptured eardrum, swimming should be avoided completely until the infection has cleared up.

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Swimming For Kids With Special Needs

Teaching kids with special needs to swim is not only a good idea, it’s essential.  Swimming lessons help kids with special needs in a number of key areas, including greater muscle strength and physical endurance, increased flexibility, more self-control, and, in many instances, improved behavioral outcomes.

Creating an effective swimming program for kids with special needs takes a patient understanding of each swimming student as well as a well-thought-out plan for how the lessons can be adapted to each child.  Here are some tips on teaching swimming lessons to kids with special needs:

  • Give each child individualized attention — Because swimming with be a new experience for most of these children, they may be hesitant or reluctant to “take the plunge” at first.  Be patient, and work with kids at their own speed to get them adapted to being in the water and moving in the water.  Additionally, children with epilepsy with need “spotters” at all times.
  • Utilize appropriate adaptive equipment — Some students may benefit from adaptive equipment that makes the water experience more positive for them.  Life jackets other flotation devices like floating mats may sometimes be used to help children with motor disorders enjoy swimming safely.  For children with tubes in the ears, specialized swim plugs or caps will need to be used to prevent the water from doing damage.
  • Limit distractions — Special needs children often do better in areas of the pool with no distractions.  Try to limit harsh lighting or background noises.
  • Be consistent — Since many special needs kids thrive with specific, predictable routines, it is essential that instructors be consistent in their teaching times and methods.  Any necessary deviations from normal schedules should be planned in advance.
  • Adapt to the needs of each child — Some children may benefit from visual cues (for instance, with flash cards or diagrams) as opposed to verbal instructions.  Other children may learn better with physical demonstrations.  It is important to adapt the lessons to match the ways in which each child learns best.
  • Emphasize basic water skills — Before attempting to teach swimming via traditional strokes, it’s important to make sure that each child masters basic water skills like breathing, maneuvering underwater, and flotation.  These skills will not come naturally for many children, which is why a patient, consistent teaching method is best.
  • Make it fun — Getting into the water for the first time can be a scary experience for many special needs children.  Try to reduce water anxiety by making their experience fun and giving them plenty of praise and encouragement.
  • Plan for safety — Make sure that safety is a top priority in your swimming program.  Safety measures include having a small class sizes, clean water, good leadership, qualified swim instructors, and a documented emergency plan.

Swimming is an important skill that can save the lives of special needs children.  Parents and educators can work with swimming instructors to create adapted swimming programs that fit the need of each child individually.

Written by: Teressa Dahl

Swim Schools in Roodepoort and Randpark Ridge

Image result for swim

Swimming Schools in the Randpark Ridge and Roodepoort Area

Name Address Area Contact
Aqualand SA Swimming School 18 Catalenti Road Randpark Ridge 0825212360
Splashmates Swim School 47 Medlar Road Randpark Ridge 0117935904
Happy Feet Swimming School 1834 Scott Avenue Randpark Ridge 0783709698
Aquarius  Aquatics Swim School 1083 Chateau Avenue Roodepoort 0114752313
Amanzi  Scuba and Swim Centre 21 Beverly Drive Roodepoort 0832689777
The Swim School 88 Alexandra Street Roodepoort 0116742530
I Can Swim – Swim Academy 1085 Kajuit Turn Allens nek 073594407
Mony Swim School 4 Rowan Place Constantia Kloof
Aquanauts Swim School 190 Wilgespruit Street Roodepoort 0832561774

 

Swimming Schools in the Morningside, Rivonia and Sandton area

Name Address Area Contact
Slipstream Swim School 25 Glenian Road Sandton 0828455355
Aqua turtles Swim School 21 Van Riebeeck Street Norscot Manor 0114655662
Lonehill Swim School 35 Morgenster Crescent Lonehill 0837937887
Active Academy Swim School 1 Centre Road Morningside 0840322157
Sandown Swim School 10 Etosha Crescent Sandown 0112622461
Wahoo Swim School 516 Maxwell Drive Sunninghill 0118075118
Little Seahorses Swimming School 13-15 Ashton Road Lonehill 0846901267
Little Lifeguards 43 Darter Avenue Norscot 0625094601
Goof Swimming School Corner of Rivonia Road and North Road Rivonia 0844109242
Sleek Swim 9 Sutherland Avenue Craighall Park 0117882548
Swim Tots Rivonia Sports Centre Morningside 0825724809

7 Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe on the Beach This Summer

THINKSTOCK IMAGES VIA GETTY IMAGES

Allow me to tell you about the angriest I’ve ever been in my life. I was a lifeguard in Long Beach, NY and the ocean was particularly rough on this day. (I know you’re thinking, But it’s NY! How rough can the ocean really get there?? Well, click on this link to have a look. http://youtu.be/PiPNAeo-174 That’s about 100 yards from the spot I worked, so lesson one is don’t underestimate any body of water you plan on entering.)

On this particular day I had a rescue when a riptide eroded a sandbar that a large group of people had gathered on. Almost everyone made it to the shore on their own except for the two small children I pulled out. They were brother and sister. He was 8 or 9 and she was maybe 11. When I returned them to land, I had expected to see mom or dad waiting to hug them; relieved that their children were safe. They weren’t there. As a matter of fact, I had the kids take me all the way to the back of the beach where I found the mom sleeping… with headphones on! She was completely oblivious to the fact that she had almost lost both of her children while she worked on her tan. Please don’t think I’m exaggerating. Her kids were at the very end of their struggle to stay afloat when I got to them. They were going to die. I was furious at this person for being so careless when it came to the safety of her kids and I made sure that she knew it.

When you go to the beach (or anywhere) with your kids, YOU are the first and most important line of defense when it comes to their safety. Gone are the days when the beach meant that you can sit in a chair and read a book, or take a nice nap in the sun. You now have to be constantly on guard. If your child is near the water, you need to be near the water too. If your child is in the water, you should be ankle-deep right behind them at the absolute minimum. You’d be shocked at how quickly a small child can go from wetting his or her toes to being knocked over and washed out with a surprise wave. A 10-second glance away could be all it takes. Consider the lifeguards a final option when all you have done to keep them safe has failed. Do not rely on them or anyone else when it comes to the safety of your kiddos.

Here is a list of things to run through before you head to big blue with the kids:

1. Know your swimming limitations

Please take note that I’m not saying “DISCOVER your limitations.” If you think the water might be too rough for you, then I assure you that you are right. Err on the side of caution always. Don’t put yourself into a dangerous situation, especially when you are with your kids.

2. Be especially cautious in unfamiliar waters

By most standards, I am an excellent swimmer. However, new bodies of water present new challenges that I might not know about and don’t want to discover when I’m in it. Always investigate the place you’re entering first. Ask locals, scope out potential problems and stay out if you’re unsure. If it’s a hot day and you see a delightful-looking area of water that is free of other swimmers, assume there is a reason for it. There might be a riptide, polluted waters or it might be off-limits for some other reason you are not aware of.

3. Recognize a Riptide

Riptides (sometimes called “undertows”) are channels of water that flow from the beach out to sea. You have all of these waves coming in and they have to go back out to sea somewhere. The water is pushed to the side by the waves that are behind it until it finds an exit. This is usually in a spot that’s deeper than the surrounding areas and when the water rushes out, it forms a channel and makes it even deeper. Take a second to watch the water before you go in. Is there a section of the beach where the waves just aren’t breaking? Does the whitewater that’s rolling in mysteriously disappear in a section? That is the deeper water. Waves break where the water gets shallow. If they aren’t breaking, it’s deeper there and you should move your kids somewhere well away from it because chances are, that’s the spot that’s pulling out to sea. What looks to you like the most serene patch of water can very well be the most dangerous. Also, don’t swim very close to jetties or piers. Riptides often form next to them as water is forced out to sea.

4. Know how to get out of a riptide

Riptides can be very scary if you’re in one. You swim and swim and swim towards shore, but either make no progress, or get farther and farther away. If you’ve never been in a riptide, imagine swimming to the end riptide-diagramof your pool, only you’re swimming uphill and the water is pushing you back. There is a very simple solution to this. Swim parallel to the shore, not towards it. The riptide might only be a few yards wide. Once you’re out of it, getting to shore will be relatively easy again.

5. Talk to the lifeguards before you go in

This is a surprisingly simple thing to do that most people overlook. You might be looking at the lifeguard and think to yourself, Pffff… That kid is 19 years old, tops. What can he/she tell me that I don’t already know… Well, when it comes to the ocean, I guarantee you that they know more than you might ever know. In one summer, it’s very likely that those “kids” will spend more time on the beach and in the ocean than most people will in their entire lives. They are the experts and you should respect that. Ask them where the safest place is for you and the kids. Have them point out dangerous spots (they’ll know where they are and where they form with changing tides). If you’re not a strong swimmer, let them know and ask them to keep a particular eye out for your children. I promise you that if you show them that you are making an effort, they will make an effort for you as well.

6. Recognize when someone is in trouble

I strongly recommend that everyone read this article and share it with everyone you know. “Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning”http://mariovittone.com/2010/05/154/. It gives you a very real description of what to look for and recognize when someone is in desperate need of help. They cannot call out, they cannot scream. They simply go under. I’ll leave this quote from it here: “Children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.”

7. Assign a guardian when you are away

There are obviously going to be times that you can’t watch the kids. You might have to go to the bathroom or feed a parking meter. A mistake that many people (especially those in groups) make is assuming someone else is watching the kids. They are there with eight other adults, so someone is looking out while you’re away, right?? The problem that arises is that every other parent is also assuming someone else has their eyes on your kids. When you need to leave, assign someone specific to watch your children. Tell them “You are in charge of them until I come back. DO NOT STOP WATCHING THEM UNTIL THEN.” Be firm about it. If you don’t give someone this responsibility, you can’t assume that someone is going to just naturally take over.

So please take caution this summer. Watch your kids at the beach, at the pool, heck, even near the mall fountain. Once you know what to look for and what to look out for, you can spend time on the beach passing that knowledge on to your children. They will be safe while you’re with them and armed with the lessons you give them, they’ll be safe in the future when they are on their own.