We were supposed to take a canoeing trip with some friends earlier this month, but our friends had to cancel due to a family emergency.
While we were planning this trip we realized that we knew nothing about TN boating laws regarding infants, nor how to shop for a PFD (Personal Floatation Device) for infants which we will share the results of our researching next week.
We know how to train our pups to build endurance for our canoeing trips, as well as how to pick a PFD for us and our dogs (although we have our reasons for not putting them on our pups, we’ll get to that later), we can swim, and we know the laws for us while one the water, but adding baby changes everything, and we didn’t want to go out on the water and be stressed out because we didn’t do our homework.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for infants and young children between the ages of 1-4.
Which is why we wanted to enroll in our local ISR Swim Lessons or Infant Self-Rescue Swim Lessons, but haven’t had any luck reaching the lady who runs it. ISR Swim Lessons is where baby is taught to roll over and float on their back, rest, and breath until help arrives.
So instead we went down to the YMCA to enroll in their parent/baby swim lessons. They had the same six month age minimum as the ISR Swim Lessons. When asked why that age minimum and if we could possibly be an exception, turns out the reason for the age minimum is to ensure baby has good head/neck control, which Leelynn has.
So after two weeks of swim lessons, Leelynn closes his eyes and mouth when water is poured over him, mimicking dunking without actually dunking. This is something you can do at home in the bathtub too. (Tip: if you blow on your baby’s face they should reflexively take a breath and momentarily hold it, to help teach them when it is appropriate to hold their breath)
We have also been working on him floating on his back
Leelynn’s been a fan of the water ever since his first bath, and we didn’t want him to have to miss out on the fun of swimming just because of his size/age or develop a fear of the water because we were nervous of him being near the water.
While we still want to do the ISR Swim Lessons, so he knows what to do in open water, the YMCA lessons are good start for now!