Single Parents Should Make Time For Fitness


As a single parent, you might not feel like you have the time or energy to squeeze one more thing into your schedule, especially if it involves working up a sweat. But exercise can actually increase your energy level. Making your way from the sofa to a sweat session should get easier with patience, practice, and a positive attitude while giving you a boost all day long. And, there are even exercise routines that will get your kids up and moving, too. Start with these suggestions to find a fitness fit for your family.


 Working out at home

 There are several exercises you can do at home with basic equipment. For instance, you can invest in a pair of light dumbbells and use them for upper-body strength exercises including bicep curls, tricep curls, and shoulder raises. Old-school options including pushups and situps are also just as effective today as when you did them during middle school gym class.

 Although some high-end yoga mats can cost upwards of $100, you can also find a wide variety of options for a fifth of the price. Several fitness companies also make mats specifically designed with kids in mind. So you and your pint-sized partners can count each other’s reps during strengthening exercises or stretch your muscles and minds during a yoga session. There are a number of free and cost-conscious videos and smartphone apps that can help you practice poses. 


Joining a gym

 If your budget and busy schedule makes joining a gym an option, choosing a family-friendly fitness center is your best option. Depending on your kids’ ages, you might want to select a gym that offers its own childcare center or kids’ classes that will help keep them active and occupied during your workouts, according to the health website Verywell. Tour the gym and ask questions about fees and qualifications for instructors and childcare providers to help make sure the fitness facility will be affordable and comfortable for both you and the kids. Otherwise, a stop at the drive-thru restaurant will probably be a lot more tempting than a trip to the gym.

 Everyday exercise


 Walking and running are among the easiest ways to squeeze fitness into a tight schedule and budget. And one or both activities can be adapted to suit kids and adults of nearly every age and fitness level. For instance, Parents magazine suggests scheduling a daily walk before or after dinner and making it more fun for your tiny tagalongs by incorporating games like I Spy. Or, sign up for a fundraising walk or run as a family to get some exercise for a good cause.

 Swimming is another family-friendly fitness activity, and adults and kids can practice in the pool or on a warm-weather vacation to an ocean- or lakeside lodge. There are a number of classes for exercisers of all ages to sharpen their swim skills, including some that single parents can take right alongside their water babies.

Aqua Fit - Water Aerobics

 This water-based workout is truly total body because it tones muscles and builds strength and endurance while exercising your heart and lungs, according to Healthline. So it’s no wonder a 160-pound person burns about 423 calories an hour by swimming laps at a low to moderate pace compared with 314 calories burned while walking or 365 calories burned aboard an elliptical trainer. Swimming can also help people sleep more soundly -- good news for kids and parents alike.

 Try these tips to incorporate more exercise into your single-parent schedule. Who knows? Maybe you’ll have your kids running to keep up with you for a change.

Three Fun Exercise Ideas for Those Living with a Disability

For those dealing with a physical disability, the idea of exercise may seem daunting or even impossible. Not only can exercise be a scary prospect for someone with a disability (pain, fear of failure, etc.) but many feel as if they will be limited to the point that it’s not even worth it. What’s the point of making an attempt at physical activity if it’s going to be so incredibly boring?

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to get a good amount of exercise that aren’t that limiting to those with a disability. Here are some great options.


Any list of fun, moderately strenuous exercises for those with a disability must begin with swimming. Water allows people with all sorts of physical disabilities the chance to do things that they cannot do on land. Swimming not only has physical benefits but it can also be a great stress-reliever and method of finding relaxation for those who may also have mental health disorders.

“Swimming is particularly valuable for people with disabilities, since the water allows them to move without assistance, an important discovery and experience for anyone with a disability,” notes “Swimming has a very high psychological and therapeutic value for people with disabilities since the buoyancy relieves the strain on the body, allows them to move without assistance and stimulates all vegetative functions.”


Gardening is well-known for its therapeutic value, as it’s one of the best stress-relieving and mood-enhancing hobbies you can participate in. But did you know that gardening can actually provide a pretty solid workout - even for those with disabilities?

“There are many ways you can alleviate or reduce some of the physical challenges that come with the territory, regardless of whether you suffer from arthritis, back pain or are confined to a wheelchair,” notes HGTV.

There is plenty of adaptive gardening equipment that makes it easier for those with disabilities to participate, including adaptive shears, rakes, and digging equipment. Those that have trouble kneeling can use short stools. Gardening is set up well for sitting on the ground and working, so it meshes well for those with lower body disabilities. The upper body and aerobic workout provided by many of the essential gardening tasks can burn upwards of 300 calories per hour - as much as walking!

Adaptive sports

If you think that traditional sports - from solo to team to even extreme - are off limits to you because you have a disability, then think again. Advances in technology have opened the door wide to those with disabilities who want to experience the thrill of sport.

If you live in a big city, it’s highly likely that there are dozens of adaptive sports leagues for sports like basketball, volleyball, tennis, hockey, and handball. Adaptive sports are basically traditional sports that have been altered in some way - either in terms of rules or equipment involved - to accommodate those with disabilities.

And when it comes to more extreme sports like surfing, skiing, and watersports (kayaking, canoeing, etc.) there is a lot of equipment out there to help.

When it comes to getting the recommended amount of physical activity, your disability is only as much of a hindrance as you let it be. There are plenty of interesting, thrilling exercise options out there if you are willing to do a little bit of research and invest in some tech/supplies. You’ll find that, with exercise, you will see a boost not only to your physical health, but to your mental wellness as well.

Written By: Travis White (

Bath Time, Swim Time: Build Your Child’s Water Confidence

One of the easiest ways to help your child learn to swim is to work on simple skills during bath time. Playing during bath time will make bathing more fun, and build their confidence in the water. One of the biggest challenges while teaching swim lessons, is over coming a fear of the water; however, children are in the water almost everyday, so no child should be afraid of the water. Help your child by working on the following fun, simple skills while in the bath tub. Parents can start working on these skills when children are as young as 3 months old.

Here are 4 bath time activities that will help your baby learn-to-swim!

1. Practice getting baby’s face wet

There are many adults who are afraid of submerging their heads fully under water, so it’s hard to blame a toddler for being apprehensive. That’s why it’s important to get your child comfortable with water on their face ASAP. You can do this by first wetting different parts of their face. Move on to a slow trickle of water over your child's face and down the back of the head.

2. Teach unassisted floating in the tub

Bath time is a great and safe way to teach baby how to float! Start by laying your child on their back and holding them in floating position while helping them relax. The best place to hold them while they are on their back is with you sitting behind them at their head, and holding them underneath their arms.

3. Teach bubble blowing

Blowing bubbles teaches children how to clear their nasal passages when they don’t have any free hands to plug their nose. One way to do this is to blow ping pong balls across the surface of the water. You can teach bubble blowing by making funny noises while blowing. Not only is this fun for your toddler, it also prepares them for skills they’ll need in formal swimming lessons later on.

4. Use bath toys or household items that they can interact with in the tub.

Not only do bath toys help your little one develop their motor skills, but this kind of play time in the bath allows them to use their limbs more freely in the water.

Remember: Swimming is an essential life skill! It’s important to ingrain these habits into children at a young age, so when they’re older, water safety becomes second nature. After all, the #1 way to prevent drowning is to learn how to swim!

So if your child is already a fish in a bowl, maybe it’s time to introduce your little fish to the pool!

Original References: Guest Blogger from Aquamobile

Drowning Prevention

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention: 

In the United States.....

  • Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning
  • Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death
  • Approximately 3,500 people die from drowning each year in the United States alone. 
  • One in five people who die from drowning are children under 14 
  • Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates.
  • In 2009, among children 1 to 4 years old who died from an unintentional injury, more than 30% died from drowning
  • For every child who dies from drowning, five more receive emergency medical care for non-fatal drowning
  • More than 50% of drowning victims treated in emergency departments require hospitalization or transfer for further care

The main factors that influence drowning include....

  • Lack of Swimming Ability: Many adults and children report that they can’t swim.  Research has shown that participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning among children aged 1 to 4 years.
  • Lack of Barriers: Barriers, such as pool fencing, prevent young children from gaining access to the pool area without caregivers’ awareness.  A four-sided isolation fence (separating the pool area from the house and yard) reduces a child’s risk of drowning 83% compared to three-sided property-line fencing.
  • Lack of Close Supervision: Drowning can happen quickly and quietly anywhere there is water (such as bathtubs, swimming pools, buckets), and even in the presence of lifeguards.
  • Location: People of different ages drown in different locations. For example, most children ages 1-4 drown in home swimming pools. The percentage of drownings in natural water settings, including lakes, rivers and oceans, increases with age. More than half of fatal and nonfatal drownings among those 15 years and older (57% and 57% respectively) occurred in natural water settings
  • Failure to Wear Life Jackets: In 2010, the U.S. Coast Guard received reports for 4,604 boating incidents; 3,153 boaters were reported injured, and 672 died. Most (72%) boating deaths that occurred during 2010 were caused by drowning, with 88% of victims not wearing life jackets.
  • Alcohol Use: Among adolescents and adults, alcohol use is involved in up to 70% of deaths associated with water recreation, almost a quarter of ED visits for drowning, and about one in five reported boating deaths. Alcohol influences balance, coordination, and judgment, and its effects are heightened by sun exposure and heat.
  • Seizure Disorders: For persons with seizure disorders, drowning is the most common cause of unintentional injury death, with the bathtub as the site of highest drowning risk.

What has research found?

  • Swimming skills help. Taking part in in formal swimming lessons reduces the risk of drowning among children aged 1 to 4 years. However, many people don’t have basic swimming skills. A CDC study about self-reported swimming ability found that:
    • Younger adults reported greater swimming ability than older adults.
    • Self-reported ability increased with level of education.
    • Men of all ages, races, and educational levels consistently reported greater swimming ability than women.
  • Seconds count—learn CPR. CPR performed by bystanders has been shown to save lives and improve outcomes in drowning victims. The more quickly CPR is started, the better the chance of improved outcomes.
  • Life jackets can reduce risk. Potentially, half of all boating deaths might be prevented with the use of life jackets.

What can parents do to prevent this from happening to their child?

  • Supervise When in or Around Water. Designate a responsible adult to watch young children while in the bath and all children swimming or playing in or around water. Supervisors of preschool children should provide “touch supervision”, be close enough to reach the child at all times. Because drowning occurs quickly and quietly, adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity (such as reading, playing cards, talking on the phone, or mowing the lawn) while supervising children, even if lifeguards are present.
  • Use the Buddy System. Always swim with a buddy. Select swimming sites that have lifeguards when possible.
  • Learn to Swim. Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning. However, even when children have had formal swimming lessons, constant, careful supervision when children are in the water, and barriers, such as pool fencing to prevent unsupervised access, are still important.
  • Learn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). In the time it takes for paramedics to arrive, your CPR skills could save someone’s life.
  • Air-Filled or Foam Toys are not safety devices. Don’t use air-filled or foam toys, such as "water wings", "noodles", or inner-tubes, instead of life jackets. These toys are not life jackets and are not designed to keep swimmers safe.
  • Avoid Alcohol. Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming, boating, or water skiing. Do not drink alcohol while supervising children.

All of these statistics and more can be found at 

Instructors For A Cause: AVON 39

Sonia Djafri has been an instructor for Jump Start Swimming for over two years. Sonia participated in the AVON 39 Walk To End Breast Cancer on September 12-13, 2015. This was the 13th annual Avon walk to be help in Santa Barbara. Sonia walked a total of 39.3 miles and raised $1750. These donation went to the Avon Foundation . By the end of the second day in Santa Barbara, the participants had raised more than $5.3 million to accelerate breast cancer research; improve access to screening, diagnosis and treatment; and educate people about breast cancer. 

Sonia completed this walk in honor of her grandmother, Grandma Kathy. She fought and beat breast cancer once, but unfortunately passed away from the recurrence of breast cancer. She also walked because every three minutes, another woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the US; by the time you finish reading this, there will be a new diagnosis. Cancer is a terrible disease that affects us all.

Sonia's dream is to become a pediatric oncologist and she has already started interning at the oncology floor at HOAG hospital!! Because she is still a few years away from making her dream come true, Sonia decided to participate in the AVON 39 walk to help contribute to the fight against cancer.

Jump Start Swimming is very proud of our instructors and are amazed everyday at their strength. Jump Start Swimming is happy to support her as she strives to reach her goals. Jump Start Swimming donated $500 and our support to Sonia and the fight against breast cancer. 

Sonia's goal was to raise $1800. She is very close to this goal but has not quite reached it. If you would like to donate please use the link below. There is not pressure to donate.


Jump Start Swimming loves supporting our instructors and we are very proud of Sonia for all she has done. 

Sonia Djafri

"Walking 39.3 miles was no easy task, but it pales in comparison to chemo and radiation. I am so elated & proud to have been part of a group of 2,300 amazing people who raised 5.3 million dollars for the fight against breast cancer! ‪#Powerof39‬ ONLY $86 away from my goal!!"

Positives of Using Pool Noodles

About Pool Noodles

Pool noodles come in a variety of colors and tend to be just as attractive to children as pool toys. They come in sizes between three and four inches thick and about five feet long. These flexible noodles hold their shape and can with-stand years of continuous use.

Solid foam swim noodles are an inexpensive way to help your child learn to swim. Pool noodles are one of the best floatation devices you can use to float in both a vertical and horizontal position. A swim noodle alone is often enough to keep an adult in a vertical position with their head above the water without him or her doing any arm or leg motions.

Pool Noodles can be used for a variety of swimming techniques and are excellent tools for teaching a child or adult to swim. Noodles give the feeling of safety without the danger of being stuck in a flotation device. Unlike inflatable floaties that are attach to children, pool noodles require children to learn about safety without being scared of swimming. Children and adults can use noodles to gain comfort while still understanding that they are capable of sinking without the support of the noodle.

Using Water Noodles To Learn Swimming

 1. Floating and Getting Comfortable

Use the noodle to float in the pool. To do this, place the noodle under both of your armpits and let your arms hang over the top of the noodle. An advantage of using a pool noodle is that you will be able to float vertically and horizontally. Spend some time floating with the noodle and becoming comfortable in the water.

2. Kicking Vertically – Treading Water

Kick your legs while floating in a vertical position. This will prepare you to start treading water without the noodle. Once you feel confident, release the noodle and try treading water with your arms free as well.

3. Front Floating Horizontally – Preparing to Swim

Float your body in a horizontal position with the noodle under your armpits. Kick your legs with a flutter kick technique. This will prepare you to do a freestyle once you are ready to let go of the noodle.

4. Back Float – Starfish and Backstroke

Turn over to do a back float. Place the noodle under your neck for support. Extend your arms to your sides to balance your float. Once you have mastered the float, kick your legs so that you will prepare yourself to learn the backstroke.

5. Family Fun Time

Play and have some fun with your pool noodle. Some types of noodles can be joined together to make structures or rafts. While this won't teach you specific swimming skills, it will help you to enjoy yourself in the water.

Swimming Books To Help Your Child Lean!

Swimming Books To Help Your Child Lean!

Who doesn't love story time? You get to spend quality time with your kids while they get to stretch their imagination — it’s a win-win. Books can be used to teach children skills such as, potty training, social skills, and manners. They can also be used to get children ready for the birth of a new sibling and starting kindergarten. So many things can be taught using literature and swimming is one of them. 

Summer is around the corner and its time to start swimming. Just in case you have a youngster who is a little timid when it comes to splashing around and getting their face wet, here are a few books recommended by Jump Start Swimming that feature lovable characters who all work at overcoming their fear of swimming: 

‘Ruby Learns to Swim’ written by Phillip Gwynne and illustrated by Tamsin Ainslie

I was so excited about receiving this one in the mail: Gwynne text and Ainslie illustrations = perfect picture book. We follow main character Ruby as she has her swimming lesson and learns about bubbles, straight legs and kicking hard. PudStar’s favourite part of this book was the lovely assortment of swimsuits and swimming caps that Ruby is featured in…the patterns and colours are just gorgeous and it would be great fun to make more swimsuit and cap combinations for Ruby as a follow up activity. This is a learn to swim book for the very young and it’s just delightful.

‘The Deep’ written by Tim Winton and illustrated by Karen Louise

Well it’s Tim Winton, need I say more? Alice lives near the beach and she loves the sand and playing in the dunes. She’s not scared of many things at all, but she is afraid of the deep. We follow Alice as she enjoys the beach, but not the water until one day when she’s tempted in by some new friends.


‘The Deep End’ written by Ursula Dubosarsky and illustrated by Mitch Vane

I’ve spoken before about how much I enjoy the Aussie Nibble books, and this one is particularly great. At swimming lessons, Becky all set to move up from the Frog group, to the Platypus group. She loves swimming lessons, but being a Platypus means facing…the deep end. An amusing tale about facing some swimming fears!



‘Clem Always Could’ by Sarah Watt

Clem was good at lots of things. He was always good at just so many things; well that is how he remembers it. So when he has to learn to swim…he has a bit of a confidence crisis when he find something he cannot do!


Granny Grommet and Me’. Written by Dianne Wolfer and Illustrated by Karen Blair.

This book has a surfing granny so for starters it’s a winner! My granny and her friends go to the beach, and I go too. When they hit the surf, they duck and dive and twist and turn. It looks like lots of fun. But I don t want to go in the water. There are strange things under the waves. There is also some great tips at the end about visiting the beach. Perfect summer holiday read!

‘The Deep End’ by Rebecca Patterson

A funny look at swimming lessons, and the dreaded deep end of the pool! The main character decides that although swimming lessons are brilliant, the best part is the hot shower at the end! For early childhood and lower primary.


‘Sergio' by Edel Rodriguez

Sergio is a penguin. He loves fish, soccer, and water. He loves drinking water, bathing in water, spraying water, just about anything with water! But he has one big problem; he can’t swim.


‘Froggy Learns To Swim' by Jonathan London, Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz

Frogs are supposed to be great swimmers. “Not me!” says Froggy, who’s afraid of the water. But with a little encouragement, some practice, and the help of a silly song or two, Froggy becomes an expert frog-kicker! Full color.

‘Swim, Little Wombat, SWIM!' by Charles Fuge

Fans of Charles Fuge’s Little Wombat will rejoice at the adorable creature’s return–and at the introduction of an appealing new friend for his hero. And what an unusual animal Platypus is: he waddles when he walks, has a funny fuzzy face, and most special of all, can swim just like a fish. Little Wombat would love to do that too. But are wombats meant for the water…or is he better off staying on dry land?

Water Safety Tips 2015!

According to the American Red Cross, drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages one to 14. It’s a scary reality, but following these safety tips can help parents and caregivers provide the water safety that is so important for children.

  1. Teach your children to swim or enroll in swim lessons as soon as possible.
  2. Stay close, alert, and near the pool, watching children both in and around the water at all times.
  3. Learn CPR and update your certification regularly.
  4. Never use floatation toys or devices as a suitable supervision or safety.
  5. Talk to your children about the importance of water safety, in and out of the water. My kids love to run around the pool, so this is one area I have to remind them about. The danger of slipping, falling, hurting yourself, or others and putting everyone in risk of injury.
  6. Inform babysitters, or family members that are in charge of your children – the importance of water safety. It doesn’t hurt to have a friendly reminder about the supervision required near pools or other water sources.
  7. Never assume someone else is watching your children in or around the pool.
  8. Don’t assume you’ll hear a child who’s in trouble in the water, drowning is silent and unlikely you would actually hear the child in trouble.
  9. If a child does go missing during a pool or water outing, always look in the water source first and fast.
  10. Install a child safety fence and locks &/or alarms on any entryway to pool &/or cover your pool or spa when not in use.

About Jump Start Swimming

Jump Start Swimming teaches children as young as 6 months how to be safe in and around the water. Instructors teach the steps to the Swimming Safety Sequence which consistences of; (1) jumping or falling into the water, (2) rolling onto their backs, (3) calling for help or rolling back over and kicking to the edge of the pool. This sequence allows swimmers to be safe around the water and teaches them the skills they need to save their lives. 

Dangers of Inflatable Arm Bands!

Since the 1960s, inflatable arm bands have been used by parents as swimming aids for children. Though these arm bands have been very popular since they came out, experts say they may not be the best choice of swimming aid.

Inflatable arm band, more commonly known as water wings, are not a life-saving device; they will not prevent a child from accidentally going under water and potentially drowning.  Remember, water wings can slip off or easily deflate.  Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of water wings is the feeling of safety they provide for both the child and the adult responsible for watching the child. These water wings give children a false sense of security and lead them to believe that they can swim on their won. “Inflatable arm bands teach kids to jump in and let the floats do the work of popping them back up to the surface," said Bob Hubbard, owner of Hubbard Family Swim School. "They learn to run and jump with complete abandonment and use the floats to raise them high in the water rather than relaxing and trusting the water to float them." Along with this, adults feel that their children are safe in the water when in reality they are not safe unless under constant supervision. Children of all ages should be supervised by an adult while in the pool or near any body of water. Even the most advanced swimmers can fall and bump their head or slip and need help.

Finally, inflatable armbands teach children an improper vertical position in the water, instead of the correct horizontal swimming posture. As the instructor begins working on back floating, the first step in water-safety training, your child may feel uncomfortable and resist working in the horizontal position.  They may also be unused to water splashing across her face or getting into their ears. Feeling comfortable with rolling to their back and floating is the single most important aspect of a child’s being safe in an unexpected water situation and arm floaties make learning these lifesaving skills difficult.

Try using a swim noodle in place of wings.  The benefit is that the child can better understand that they and the noodle are separate, while children may not always understand that the floaties are the reason for their floating.   The noodle also helps to engage the deltoids and scapula in the upper back, muscles and bones that are important in swimming.

Jump Start Swimming

At Jump Start Swimming we know that your child is the most important thing in your life and because of this we want to provide our parents with all the information necessary to keep your child safe in the water. If you have any questions about water safety please feel free to email us or check out the water safety articles on our website. 

Babies Can Swim! When To Start Swim Lessons and Why!

Babies Can Swim! All of the Benefits
That May Surprise You!

Original Article By: Lana Whitehead

Did you know that babies can develop a passion for swimming? They are born with a love for the water so parents can go together on an exciting adventure as their child learns about water and eventually learns to swim!

Here are some fun facts about babies and swimming:

  • Children under six months have a natural inclination towards the water due to their primitive stroke action and a gag reflex that enables them to hold their breath under water.
  • Early introduction to aquatics is best, because a child under age one is less influenced by negative attitudes about the water.
  • Children who take baby swimming classes are known to do better in gripping, reaching and balance tests than non-swimming babies.
  • Early exposure to water will not only encourage a desire to swim but will reduce the chances of a child developing a fear of water.
  • A study conducted by Ruth Brenner and her colleagues in 2009 at the National Institute of Health, discovered that participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children aged 1-4 years.
  • The goal for the combination of swim and water safety lessons for the 1-4 year old is for them to learn a swim-float-swim technique used worldwide to prepare the child for an emergency situation.

To read more visit :


Swimming Safety Tips

Swimming Safety Tips

1. Take swimming lessons. Regardless of age, knowing how to swim is the most important factor in preventing drowning. Enroll your kids in swim lessons before your summer outings and make sure they can competently swim before allowing them to get in the water. Adults can also benefit from lessons, especially from an instructor who can demonstrate life saving techniques in the case someone you are with is drowning.

2. Never swim alone. It doesn't matter if you are a beginner or a seasoned swimmer, always buddy up with someone before you hit the water. Set a rule with your kids that they cannot go into the water alone. In addition, swim only in supervised areas and obey signs posted by the pool or body of water.

3. Be aware of the water. Most public pools have numbers along the side indicating the depth of the pool. Teach your kids the meaning of these numbers and deter them from diving into shallow waters. If you are at a lake, discourage them from diving in without first surveying not only the depth of the water, but also the presence of rocks, tree stumps and other obstacles. Wearing old tennis shoes is a good way to prevent foot injuries from rocks, sticks or broken glass on the lake bottom.

4. Do a self-check. As you are swimming, be sure to listen to your body. If you feel at all fatigued, too cold or overexposed to the sun, get out of the water. Periodically as your kids are swimming, ask them how they are feeling. Teach your kids to self-check and explain that getting out of the water when they aren't feeling their best can keep them from drowning.

5. Always avoid alcohol. Alcohol can not only impair your swimming ability, it can also reduce your body's ability to stay warm. Alcohol also increases the risk of you unintentionally falling into the water and getting injured. If you are thirsty, drink water, juice or another nonalcholic beverage. This will not only help keep you safe while swimming, it will set a good example for your kids.

By: Michele Borboa, MS

Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning

The summer months are here and its time to put on your sunscreen and jump in the pool. Before you do, please read the following article by Mario Vittone to help keep our children safe during these hot months. Jump Start Swimming's mission is to help keep as many children and adults safe in the water as possible


The new captain jumped from the deck, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the couple swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. “We’re fine; what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. ”Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not 10 feet away, their 9-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, “Daddy!”

How did this captain know—from 50 feet away—what the father couldn’t recognize from just 10? Drowning is not the violent, splashing call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television. If you spend time on or near the water (hint: that’s all of us) then you should make sure that you and your crew know what to look for whenever people enter the water. Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” she hadn’t made a sound. As a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer, I wasn’t surprised at all by this story. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for is rarely seen in real life.

The Instinctive Drowning Response—so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the No. 2 cause of accidental death in children, ages 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents)—of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In some of those drownings, the adult will actually watch the child do it, having no idea it is happening.* Drowning does not look like drowning—Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene magazine, described the Instinctive Drowning Response like this:

  1. “Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled before speech occurs.

  2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.

  3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.

  4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.

  5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.”

This doesn’t mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble—they are experiencing aquatic distress. Not always present before the Instinctive Drowning Response, aquatic distress doesn’t last long—but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in their own rescue. They can grab lifelines, throw rings, etc.

Look for these other signs of drowning when in the water:

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level

  • Head tilted back with mouth open

  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus

  • Eyes closed

  • Hair over forehead or eyes

  • Not using legs—vertical

  • Hyperventilating or gasping

  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway

  • Trying to roll over on the back

  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder