What if, an Infant, Child or Adult Falls Into the Pool Unexpectedly?

What if?

Have you ever wondered what would happen if…?

As parents, we give our children all that they need to become a person who can take care of themselves and become a productive individual.  We send our kids to school where they learn to read, write, grasp math concepts, social skills, physical fitness etc…   Along with these basic human skills we wonder what sports would best fit our children, how can we keep our kids healthy and safe?

As important as learning to read, write and communicate is, learning to swim is just as important if not more important!  At Swim With Gale, we believe that swim instruction is not just another activity, learning to swim is a life-long skill that you will always have and a skill that could inevitable save your life!  

Our swim lessons/instruction emphasize the safety aspects of being in and around the water.  We strive to teach our students the necessary skills they need to keep safe when in and around the water.  Our students learn how to be confident in that moment of “what if”!  Our students, no matter what their age, (infants, children, adults) all learn that “if they try, they can do this”.  We have infants, as young as 3 months old, learning to keep themselves safe if they ever fall into the water.  The children learn to swim, rest and swim some more without ever “needing” to get to the edge.  

Swim With Gale educates the students to think and respond to the thought process of: “I am wet, this is what I need to do, and do it”.  

Gale gets her students to automatically react to the task at hand!  The task being “what if”?  What if, I get pushed into the pool?  What if, I fall into the pool fully clothed?  What if, I fall off the float/noodle?  What if, I get pulled while swimming in the water?  What if, I am pushed deeper into the water?  What if, the camp pool is very crowded, and someone jumps on me?  What if….?   Am I ready to enjoy the pool at camp?  What if, I swim too far out into the pool and get tired?  What if, I go to the pool and see someone having a difficult time while in the water, am I a strong enough swimmer to help someone in need?   

Learning to swim is not enough, learning to hold your own in a water environment is everything!  If you never learn to do any other sport, it will not cost you your life.  If you never learn to swim, it could cost you your life!  

If you want your family to be stronger, safer, and happier in the water, get them swim lessons, so everyone can start enjoying the water’s benefits.  We are in Oak Park, California and are here to help you!  Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Strive to become a safer, stronger, and happier family of swimmers!

Ideal Swimming Pool Water Chemistry

Water Chemistry

Good water chemistry always starts with balanced water.  Balanced water is keeping the pH, alkalinity, and water hardness in proper levels.  Healthy water is achieved with good water chemistry, followed by proper chlorination and sanitization.

Test the pool weekly for pH and chorine levels, (you will need a good test kit to monitor chlorine and water balance levels).

Salt chlorine generators can be set to a certain output level, but temperature and changes in weather can use more chlorine than is created, so you must test the pool chlorine level in a saltwater pool, and adjust the output as needed.  In addition to testing a saltwater pool for pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness and cyanuric acid, you also now need to test the salinity level, or the amount of salt in the pool, in parts per million, or ppm.  Many inground units monitor salt levels.  Some display the salt level or have a ‘Low Salt’ indicator light, testing with salt test strips is still a good idea to calibrate or double-check the salt sensor.

Saltwater Pools

A saltwater pool is not a chlorine-free pool.  Saltwater pools create their own chlorine by passing slightly salty water through two electrically charged metal plates, called the Salt Cell.

Through electrolysis, salt (NaCl) and water (H20), are converted into chlorine (Cl2), hydrogen (H2) and sodium hydroxide (NaOH), as the water passes through the energized salt cell.

Saltwater pools can often be easier to manage, as salt systems administer “free” chlorine into the pool eliminating the need for super chlorination or shocking the pool.  This “free” chlorine molecule disinfects and has no nasty smell or irritation.  With a salt system you do not get combined chlorine molecules or “chloramines” (chloramines do not sanitize, they do smell and irritate your skin, eyes, and hair).  Using a salt system, you will notice less of a chlorine smell in the water, or on the skin after swimming, and no more ‘red-eye’ swimmers.

Saltwater Pools vs Chlorine Pools

As a recap ~ all pools use chlorine.  Saltwater pools simply generate chlorine through a natural process as compared to traditional chlorine pools that rely on adding chemicals to the water.  Basically, saltwater pools offer a consistent stream of chlorine that the pool requires, while eliminating the chemical byproducts.

This natural salt process is less irritating for skin, hair, clothes, and eyes.  The amount of salt in a swimming pool is also not going to cause the kind of irritation and discomfort many associate with the ocean.  The water doesn’t taste very salty (it’s a fraction of the salinity of ocean water).

Whereas chlorine is incredibly effective as a sanitizing agent, when it’s not maintained just right it can also easily affect your body, leaving your skin itchy, your eyes red and your clothing bleached.  Your hair may feel dry and brittle, and blond hair may turn green.

Which sanitation system is best for you?  Like any other subject matter, everyone has their own opinions – as do we, Swim With Gale uses a salt water system.  However, in the end, the choice is ultimately yours.

Happy Swimming!

Ideal Pool Chemistry Levels

pH                                                                   7.2 – 7.6

Alkalinity                                                        80 – 120ppm

Stabilizer (cyanuric acid)                              40 – 60ppm

Calcium hardness                                         200 – 400ppm

Free available chlorine                                 1.0 – 3.0ppm

Healthy swimming pool water can be obtained by having good water chemistry followed by proper chlorination and sanitization.

Swimming Pool Water Balancing

Pool water balancing is simply the relationship between pH, alkalinity, and water hardness.  Your swimming pool water is constantly changing, as plant material debris, dirt, body oil and lotions enter the water they also change the water balance.  As the water in the pool is not changed very often, continuous filtration and disinfection removes contaminants, which keep the water enjoyable.  However, filtration and disinfecting alone does not balance your water.

Water Chemistry Definitions

pH

For optimum chlorine sanitization the ideal range for pH is from 7.2 – 7.6.  The ability of chlorine to oxidize matter and kill microorganisms is directly affected by pH.  At a pH over 8.0 scaling (precipitation of mineral components) and cloudy water may result.  As pH falls below 7.0 the acidic condition will cause irritation to the eyes and mucous membranes of swimmers.  Low pH (acidic water) can also corrode metal parts of a pool system and damage the plaster finish.

To lower the pH, muriatic (hydrochloric) acid must be added.  To raise the pH, soda ash (sodium carbonate) must be added.

The human eye has a pH value of 6.5 – 7.6 being just slightly basic.  This is, coincidentally, in range with proper pH levels for your pool.  In a saltwater pool, the total salt content is approximately that of human tears, which is a lot less than the salinity of ocean water.  Yes, kids, that means you can open your eyes underwater!

Alkalinity

Alkalinity is used to buffer the pH.  When the alkalinity is off you then have erratic pH and damage occurs.  To lower the alkalinity, muriatic (hydrochloric) acid must be added.  To raise the alkalinity, soda ash (sodium carbonate) must be added.  If you notice a continuous high alkalinity levels, it is probable due to a high calcium hardness.  The recommended levels of alkalinity are 80 -120ppm.

Chlorine

Chlorine is the most common used chemical for the sanitization of swimming pools.  It not only eliminates bacteria and algae by disinfecting it also oxidizes other materials such as plant material debris, dirt, body oils, suntan lotion, etc…

After adjusting the pH levels, the next essential chemical is chlorine. The average level for chlorine is 1.0 – 3.0ppm.

Super Chlorination (“Shocking”) is the process of adding enough chlorine to raise the chlorine levels above 18ppm.  This will burn off the contaminants and kill algae and bacteria.  Leaving only the “free chlorine” to sanitize your pool.

Cyanuric Acid (Stabilizer)

Now that you’ve adjusted the levels of chlorine you will need to add a stabilizer to protect your chlorine from being diminished by the sun.  Cyanuric acid protects chlorine levels from UV rays and keeps chemical levels at a steady range.  The recommended level for cyanuric acid is 40 – 60ppm.  Adding a stabilizer can raise cyanuric acid levels if they are too low.  However, if levels are too high simply drain 2” to 3” and add fresh water.

Calcium

High calcium levels will raise the alkalinity of the pool water making the pH erratic.  As calcium levels increase the chlorine levels decrease, diminishing the effectiveness of the chlorine.   Recommended levels of calcium hardness fall between 200 – 400ppm.  Low levels of pH will etch and corrode the pool and equipment.  With high levels of pH, scale deposits form.  When calcium levels are too low, balance the level by adding calcium hardness.  If calcium is too high, you can drain the water 2” to 3” and add fresh water.

Zinc Anode

Many pool owners use a zinc anode as part of their pool system.  A sacrificial anode is an affordable device you can purchase for added protection against possible corrosion and damage to pool hardware.  It’s a good idea to check it once a year to ensure it hasn’t degraded fully.

Salt

Now that you have balanced water, you are ready to add salt.  All salt chlorinators have a suggested range for salt; however, the average typically runs between 2700 to 3500ppm.  With some salt chlorinators being as high as 4500ppm.

Why Swim?

Why Swim

Learning to swim allows adults, children, and infants to develop water safety and survival skills, builds strength, muscle tone and assists with balance and coordination.  However, the benefits of swimming reach beyond the physical benefits, providing several positive mental benefits as well.  There is no better sport for overall health than swimming.  It’s great for your heart and circulation, provides natural, low-impact resistance for building muscle and as it challenges your body it will help release endorphins – your body’s natural pain and stress fighters which also make you feel happy.  Learning to swim early on will also reduce the fear of water, making bathtubs, pools/spas, beaches, lakes etc., a less stressful environment.  Most importantly, swimming is the only sport that can save your life!  Once this skill is learned, it is rarely forgotten and is available to people of all ages.  At Swim With Gale, we start teaching students as early as 3 months old.

Swimming Gives You A Total Body Workout

Moving in water is much more resistant than moving in air.  This extra resistance requires the muscles in your body to work a bit harder and engage all energy systems for a full body workout.  This full body workout helps burn more calories which can increase one’s metabolism.  With the natural support and resistance provided by water, swimming is a fantastic activity for developing strong joints and for exercising joints that are injured or damaged.

Develops Confidence

Children and adults can often be fearful of the water if they have not been sensitized to it.   Overcoming this fear can be extremely empowering, boosting confidence and self-esteem.   Improving self-esteem instils a positive attitude towards physical activities and life skills throughout one’s life.

Swimming is a great stress reliever ~ clearing the mind of the daily routine and fostering a balanced lifestyle.  Swimming has been proven to increase endorphins which are chemicals naturally produced by the body to relieve stress and pain.

Enhances Mental Development

Swimming stimulates young children’s senses and is thought to improve brain and emotional development.  As babies develop mobility functions and breathing becomes deeper, they are encouraged to make sound.  This improves communication and aids in language and speech development.  Swimming also supports a child’s mind/body connection as studies have shown that during exercise a child’s mind is stimulated, promoting further brain development and intelligence.

Improves Flexibility

Swimming gives you the opportunity to stretch out your entire body with every stroke.  When you are in the water, you can move your body in ways it doesn’t normally move throughout the day.

Improves Cardiovascular Endurance

As an aerobic activity, swimming engages and strengthens your cardiovascular system.  Since swimming is a low impact activity, you can enjoy the cardiovascular benefits daily.  Swimming builds your muscles, lung capacity, as well as providing the strength of character to push further and endure longer.

Low Impact

Swimming has a minimal impact on your body ~ allowing for longer workouts and higher repetitions.  When swimming you are not applying a lot of pressure to your muscles, joints, and ligaments as other sports do.

Since water is “zero gravity” swimming makes the perfect exercise for everyone.

Improves Sleep

Swimming fatigues your entire body, as you use your entire body to move through the water.   Sleeping better at night improves your productivity during the day.

Life-Long Fitness

Swimming is one of the best activities you can do every day of your life!  No matter how old or young, whether you have a disability or injury, pregnant, overweight, underweight you can swim every day!

Life Saving

Being able to swim is a life-long skill.  Learning to swim is simply not enough ~ one must be able to survive under any water conditions.   You and your children should learn to swim as early as possible.  There is water all around us, even if it’s as small as a bathtub.  Making sure that you or your child is comfortable in and around water is essential to their safety.

Survival swimming

Survival swimming incorporates being able to breathe when needed.  Many programs teach children to lift their heads to breathe, causing the legs to drop into a running position.  This motion takes a significant amount of strength and energy and is, therefore, very difficult to maintain.  Using this head lifting action will cause a child/beginner swimmer, to fatigue very quickly.   At “SWIM WITH GALE” we teach our students to roll over onto their backs and breath, maintaining a flat position on the top of the water to easily take a breath, maintain endurance and strength.  Then to roll back to a swimming position to progress forward.

The Physical Benefits of Swimming

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol
  • Aids in weight loss and weight maintenance
  • Is easier on the joints than impact sports
  • Benefits your immune system
  • Preserves and improves functional capacity
  • Strengthens muscles, thanks to the greater resistance of water
  • Makes your heart a better and more efficient pump
  • Improves flexibility
  • Slows down the aging process
  • Reduces your risk for heart disease and diabetes
  • Reduces chronic pain, particularly from arthritis
  • Improves muscle imbalances
  • Develops lung capacity and helps COPD and asthma
  • Exercises nearly every muscle in the body, especially if you swim all four strokes (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly)
  • Lowers cortisol
  • Improves sleep
  • Allows you to exercise when pregnant

The Mental Benefits of Swimming

  • Enhances the connections between left and right hemispheres
  • Prevents brain shrinkage
  • Can help you make new brain cells
  • Improves problem solving skills and memory
  • Reduces stress
  • Allows you to be disconnected in an increasingly overconnected world
  • Reduces depression and anxiety
  • Improves self-control and willpower which can translate to the rest of life
  • Offers relaxation through the repetitive nature of movement
  • Improves self esteem
  • Improves mental toughness

The Emotional and Social Benefits of Swimming

  • All different levels can exercise in the same pool at the same time
  • With a variety of exercise equipment, such as kickboards, pull buoys, snorkels, and fins, you can create a variety of workouts that are exciting.  Depending on your swim level, create an exercise routine that is easier or harder as need be
  • It’s just plain fun!
  • You get used to seeing yourself in a swimsuit
  • You can swim at any time of the day or night, when it is cold or warm outside
  • It’s uniting, not dividing—we all rest at the same wall
  • It’s adaptable, and you can do different workouts depending on how you feel
  • It’s a lifetime sport

Drowning Prevention

Drowning Prevention

We all want to keep our children and loved ones as safe as can be.  Teaching your kids and loved ones to swim, hold their own in the water and get out of the water safely, is the first step.  Knowing how to prevent one from drowning, the leading cause of child injuries, is the key.

As we enjoy time at the pool, beach, rivers, and lakes, the first thing on your mind is not an injury.  Yet drownings are the leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 – 14.  Three children die every day, as a result from drowning.  In fact, drowning kills more children ages 1-4 than anything else except birth defects. (https://www.cdc.gov)

Thankfully, we can play a key role in protecting the children/adults you love from drowning.  Teaching your children/loved ones the basic skills of swimming will give them the confidence and skills they need to prevent injuries and save their lives.  These basic skills include floating (both face down and face up), manipulating one-self out toward the middle of the pool and back to the side or steps and getting out of the water safely on their own.

Learning CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

Install A Pool Fence, with self–closing and self–latching gates, completely around backyard swimming pools. This can help keep children away from the area when they aren’t supposed to be swimming.  Pool fences should separate the house and play area completely from the pool.  A pool fence needs to be a complete barrier around your pool to separate it from the rest of your home.  There should be no way to enter your pool except through a designated gate in the pool fence.  Swimming pool fences come in many shapes and sizes and can be made from a variety of materials.  Some fences are permanent, while others are easily removable for times when they’re not needed.

Why You Need A Pool Fence

The main reason to have a fence around your pool is safety!  If you have children, pets, or anyone at home who is uncomfortable swimming or unable to swim, a pool safety fence is a must.

Even if your children are great swimmers, many homeowners’ insurance policies have a ‘pool addendum’ that requires a pool fence for your pool if your children are under a certain age.  The risk of drowning is a serious concern, when it comes to the safety of your family, you can never be too careful.

Having a pool fence is a convenient way to keep pets and potentially wild animals out of your pool.  It’s also a good way to wrangle pool toys and keep them contained out of the rest of the yard.  Pool fences are incredibly beneficial in so many ways but there are so many options out there, where do you start?

Pay Attention And Watch

When kids are in or near water (including bathtubs), closely supervise them at all times!  Since drowning happens quickly and quietly, adults watching kids in or near water should avoid distracting activities like playing cards, reading books, talking on the phone, and using alcohol or drugs.

Water Competency: How to Be the Best Swimmer You Can Be

Water Competency: How to Be the Best Swimmer You Can Be

It is never too early, or too late to learn to enjoy the water. While this means something different
to everyone, all CAN learn to enjoy the water.

A fear of water or swimming, referred to as aqua-phobia, is very common. If you are afraid of
swimming, there is something you can do to overcome your fear. Whatever your specific fear is
with regard to swimming, get started by paying attention to your thoughts about the activity,
then move on to reducing your anxiety in the water. Before long, you can develop the
confidence you need to literally take the plunge.

This sequence of critical water safety skills, also known as “water competency,” is the ability to
be able to do the following steps. Of course, these steps only come after you are able to get
into the water, get your face wet and allow the water to hold you.

Water Competency: Step or jump into the water over your head. Return to the surface and
float or tread water for one minute. Turn around in a full circle and find an exit. Swim 25 yards
to the exit. Exit from the water. If in a pool, be able to exit without using the ladder.

Know you're not alone.  Whether you are a child, teen, or adult, you should not feel embarrassed
about your fear of swimming. Aqua-phobia is a very real and debilitating concern, but many
people go on to overcome this phobia and become proficient swimmers.

Knowing how to swim (and equally important, knowing how to prevent panic in the water) are
unquestionably life-saving skills, while most swim lessons begin with “get in the pool” those afraid
of that first step will avoid lessons entirely. Those who enter the pool afraid are often prone to
panic at some point in their learning and never go back. Studies show that most children of non-
swimmers don’t get enough practice to become competent swimmers themselves, perpetuating
the cycle. How can we help the millions of fearful swimmers learn to enjoy the water safely, by
addressing the fear first!

Anyone who enters the pool feeling overwhelmed by fear of embarrassment, failing or being out
of control, or who goes into flight/fight mode, will have a terribly hard time listening and
learning over their pounding heart and racing thoughts. Swim With Gale understands the
aspects on how fear and anxiety affect students physically and emotionally, and how to de-
escalate the fear and regain control. Giving students, adults and /or children, the confidence
that “If you try, you can do it”.

Gaining Control. Starting the lesson outside the pool and establishing trust. Very
often anxious students are told “There’s nothing to be afraid of,” yet they are afraid. Taking the
student’s concerns seriously before entering the water makes one feel safer and able to learn.

Demystifying the water ~ explaining the properties of buoyancy, what happens when we’re in it,
what happens when our eyes are open in the water with no goggles, and what happens when the
water goes into our ears or nose, or washes overhead etc.

Remember the Buoyancy Factor.  Feeling weightless in water is often a contributor to why some
people fear swimming. The feeling of being in water is so different than being on the ground.
This happen because gravity behaves in reverse in water. This weightless feeling, commonly
known as buoyancy, helps you naturally float in water. Once you recognize that if you relax
your limbs, you will automatically rise to the surface, you can move past fears of “sinking”.

Practicing relaxation techniques like breathing and visualization outside the water first so they
become easily accessible if needed in the pool.

Going slow and accepting that it may be an emotional process, keeping the goal clear:
competence in the deep end. While many believe fear of water is simply too hard to overcome,
that isn’t true! If you try, you can do it!

Take professional swimming lessons. Working with a skilled swim coach is the most effective way
to not only learn how to swim, but also feel more confident in the water. A coach will be aware
of your biggest concerns and take you slowly through the process until you build up the
confidence and skills necessary to swim.
Helping adults/teens/children overcome a lifelong fear of the water requires as much attention
to comfort and confidence-building as it does to skills development.
Learning to cope with fear and maintaining ease in the water is what prevents drowning.

Swimming is a lifelong skill that should be enjoyed by all.
You can overcome your fear of water!

How Early Can A Child Learn To Swim?

Swim Lessons With Gale

How Early Can A Child Learn To Swim?

Premier Swimming Lessons for Babies 3 Months And Up

At Swim With Gale, we believe it is never too early to begin learning water safety skills, as well as basic swim skills, keeping one as safe in the water as possible.   We offer swim lessons for babies as young as three months old, they must be able to hold their own head up. If the smiles on the faces of our littlest swimmers are any indication, it means that they are thoroughly enjoying the experience.  We can assure you that your children will love the sense of adventure and excitement that comes with floating, splashing around and exploring the water. Also, for you as a parent, watching your baby discover the joys and fun of water is surely going to be an  experience worth cherishing.

Baby Swimming Lessons, Oak Park, Ca

When you enroll your babies in our swim lessons, we first start by teaching them how to be comfortable in a “pool” as opposed to the bath, which is much smaller.  The comfort of being in a larger body of water will allow them to become comfortable on the steps and then in the swimming pool. Tears and screams will soon turn into smiles and laughter as they discover how much fun being in the water can be.  In our swim classes, your babies will enjoy a friendly and engaging lesson with our experienced instructors. 

Enroll Your Little One for Our Baby Swim Classes in Oak Park, Ca

Our baby swim lessons are designed to build a foundation of safety and swimming skills, preparing them for the next level of swimming.  The lessons include basic kicking and pulling movements as well as teaching the babies basic safety skills like floating, changing directions as well as blowing bubbles.  We will also teach them how to get in and out of the water.

Why Swim With Gale?

At Swim With Gale, we know all about creating the perfect swimming lessons for your little munchkins.  All our lessons are designed to be both educational and fun. Years of offering swim lessons for babies have also helped us understand that the most important aspect of learning to swim is water safety.  Our instructors make sure that they teach the basic water safety skills so that your babies are safer in and around water. For more information, call us today at (818) 889-0865 or reach us by email at info@swimwithgale.com.

3 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR TODDLER SAFE WHILE AT THE POOL

3 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR TODDLER SAFE WHILE AT THE POOL.

According to the CDC, (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury and death worldwide, and the highest rates are among children. Overall, drowning death rates in the United States have declined in the last decade. However, drowning is still the leading cause of injury resulting in death among children aged 1-4 years (May 2, 2016).

For those who do not swim, a popular summer pastime like playing near the pool/lake/ocean can be dangerous, if safety measures are not in place. As parents, you must be careful when your kids are around water, even if it is the pool in your backyard. The good news is that there are many ways to ensure water safety for children. Let us look at some of them:

1. DO NOT LEAVE THEM ALONE IN OR AROUND THE WATER

Never leave your toddler/child in or around the pool alone, even for a few seconds! Children are at risk of drowning even in less than six centimeters of water. Children are top heavy, their heads are heavier then their bodies which could cause them to fall into the water had first. This along with curiosity puts children/kids at a higher risk of drowning when you least expect it. Children should never be left unattended, especially when the water is shallow. If there are no swimming adults available, children should not be given access to the pool. One way to do so is to set up a barrier, as recommended by the CDC.

2. SIGN THEM UP FOR SWIMMING LESSONS

Enrolling your kids for swimming lessons is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of water-related accidents. There are special lessons for children as young as three months. These specialty classes, are taught by qualified instructors. The instructors will not just teach them how to swim but also how to keep them safe, as well as help make your kids more comfortable and confident in the water.

3. FLOTATION DEVICES

“Water Wings” gives one a false sense of security and do not ensure water safety. This is because air-filled or foam flotation devices and are not equipped to prevent drowning. It is best to invest your time and money in swim lessons for all who do not swim. Just as you would teach your children to do life’s basics skills, so should you teach your children to swim and be able to hold their own in the water.

Swimming or playing around in the water can be an exciting and fun experience for infants/toddlers/children and adults. Get in touch with us if you are looking for swimming classes for infants/toddlers/children/adults in Oak Park, CA.