BY KAREN BAILDON, FOR HAVEN MAGAZINE APRIL 2018
Having owned and operated quality swim schools for over 20 years, Karen Bbaildon has heard it all – ‘we don’t have time for swimming lessons’, ‘they’re not worth the price you pay’, ‘he just doesn’t like the water’. but with backyard drownings on the rise in Queensland, it’s never been so important to equip your child with life-saving water safety skills.
It’s something none of us want to think about, but for some parents, losing a child by drowning is a gut-wrenching reality. Which is exactly why Karen Baildon is setting out to tackle the lack of drowning prevention strategies, particularly within the under 5’s age group. Through her Drowning Prevention Programs and Superfish Swim Schools, located in various spots around Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Karen hopes to equip young children with the knowledge and skills to save themselves from danger in the water.
“It seems like, no matter how much education and how many campaigns are out there, there are still so many parents who just don’t think it’s important for their children to learn how to swim,” says Karen. “By working towards independent swimming, our lessons help foster a healthy respect of aquatic environments and teach skills that will help young children survive if they find themselves in a potentially deadly aquatic environment.”
Karen says the best way to protect your child from drowning will always be ensuring that they participate in programs featuring drowning prevention activities. Learning to control and take breaths while kicking and paddling, staying horizontal while swimming or rolling onto their backs to float, and looking and reaching for the wall, are all essential skills to making sure kids are completely competent in the pool. Karen says kids should start these lessons at around six months old to ensure confidence in the water.
“Swimming is truly a lifelong skill and lessons are the only sport or activity that will potentially save your child’s life” says Karen. “It’s also social and a lot of fun, great for cognitive development and a good way to stay fit and healthy.”