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To think that children should learn to swim without goggles first?

(60 Posts)
GoggleEyed Wed 29-Jun-11 22:19:26

This will out me so I have namechanged.

Now, I am not an eloquent debater like some on here, but here are my thoughts.

Swimming is a life saving skill. That is, if you child falls into a dam/river/lake/pool/off a boat/et al, then they are able to either swim to safety or hold themselves up long enough for help to be forthcoming in the shape of a lifeguard/parent/etc.
The first few seconds reactions can make the difference between drowning and surviving. If the first thought your child has is 'oh my goodness, water is getting in my eyes, I dont have my goggles' then they are necessarily NOT thinking about swimming. They are freaking out about goggles instead.

Once they are competent enough to swim to safety, say a distance of, dunno, 50 metres? (which would be more than sufficient in most cases, unless in the sea/lake) then by all means, give them goggles and they can work on correcting their stroke and distance endurance or whatever. But first and foremost, I believe, that we all teach our children to swim to help them should they accidentally go into a body of water. Yes, it is fun, but it SAVES LIVES.

Swimming lessons for babies and early toddlers are about getting them used to water and feeling comfortable in water and around water. Teaching them SAFETY about water, getting in and out safely. Later, as they progress with their familiarity they start to work on back stroke and free style.

So, AIBU in thinking that we should teach them without goggles first and how to potentially save their life THEN with goggles? Because how many people walk around, even sail around, with a set of goggle strapped on in case they fall in. In fact I dont think I have ever seen a pre-emptive goggle wearer! grin

worraliberty Wed 29-Jun-11 22:23:03

Don't see why you've name change??

Yes I agree. Kids are banned from wearing goggles during 'learn to swim' lessons here. Only the higher classes use them.

OnlyWantsOne Wed 29-Jun-11 22:23:05

I'm wearing goggles right now.

I don't think YABU smile as kids we learnt to swim without goggles - but it's just choice isn't it.

littleducks Wed 29-Jun-11 22:23:30

But we learn to swim in chlorinated pools...which makes your eyes sting, unlike the sea/lakes/rivers etc

greycircles Wed 29-Jun-11 22:25:14

My 3yo has swimming lessons and the instructor insists all children wear goggles. Don't know why but do see your point as well.

yearningforthesun Wed 29-Jun-11 22:25:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Meglet Wed 29-Jun-11 22:26:23

yabu. I thought the same way too. But 4yo DS has been having lessons for nearly a year and still can't swim at all. He won't get his head right under water and therefore can't learn how to breathe properly. I think the combination of water in eyes / nose / mouth is too much for him.

I've just bought him some goggles so we might be able to get him used to getting his head under, we have dive sticks too. Once he's cracked the breathing part then the goggles will be confiscated.

FWIW I had goggles for a while when I learnt to swim but was fine when I wasn't allowed to wear them anymore and don't mind opening my eyes under water. I swam lakes in my youth, no goggles.

They're a means to an end.

IreneHeron Wed 29-Jun-11 22:27:10

As a mum of a 3 y o who freaks out around water, has screaming ab dabs every bath time in case water gets in his eyes and who is now enjoying going swimming because he has goggles then I disagree. In an ideal world yes, but don't judge other's parenting choices. Anything that encourages confidence in the water is fine with me.

PaisleyLeaf Wed 29-Jun-11 22:27:26

My DD didn't start wearing goggles until she could already swim, so I don't think yabu.
But, I'm not sure about a child's first thought being about their eyes if they fall in water. I'd've thought they'd think 'oh no I'm in the water - I need to get up where I can breathe'.

It's difficult though, because of all the chemicals in most of the pools children are learning in. For some children, the irritation it causes could hinder their learning.

GoggleEyed Wed 29-Jun-11 22:28:11

Have name changed to protect my usual identity from the school mums I have vented to re this issue! smile

Littleducks - yes, but it is the feeling of water in the eyes that needs to get used to, iyswim? If a child has never had water in their eyes, that is what will be their main concern upon entering water unexpectedly, not swimming. And not all children learn to swim in pools.

Worral - wish we had that system! I expressly told the swim school I did not want my child wearing goggles, which they said was ok. They have given them to him the last two lessons. angry It initially increases his confidence, but will hinder him in an emergency.

Only - yes, true it is choice. I just wish there was a blanket rule as worral talked about. Some children do and others dont and they 'want to fit in' and dont understand why I have said (uselessly a sit turns out!) no.

worraliberty Wed 29-Jun-11 22:28:56

DC wont swim without goggles, what the hell they do if they fall into a lake I dont know

Fish them out with a stick and tell them to take better care of them? grin

Hatesponge Wed 29-Jun-11 22:29:43

My DSs learnt to swim in pools on hols/at home at a young age without goggles, however they have both always needed goggles in our local 'public' pool (where their school swimming lessons are held) because the level of chlorine in the water is such that without goggles their eyes would be red and streaming for hours afterwards.

I agree children should swim without goggles, however this isn't always possible.

IreneHeron Wed 29-Jun-11 22:31:13

Should all kids also learn to swim from the start in clothes and shoes too in case they fall into lakes when clothed?

I honestly don't know why it is such an issue for you OP.

scurryfunge Wed 29-Jun-11 22:31:20

Anything that increases confidence in the water is good, so if goggles do that then that is ok. Swimmers are at the greatest risk of drowning anyway. Drowning is usually due to fatigue, temperature or injury so goggles are usually irrelevant anyway.

yearningforthesun Wed 29-Jun-11 22:32:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

diggingintheribs Wed 29-Jun-11 22:32:37

DS (4)screams blue murder if he gets a tiny drop in his eyes! He has 1:1 lessons and wore his goggles to start Was the only way to get him in the pool. Over a few lessons the teacher has convinced him not to wear them but he is nowhere near swimming. Teacher did mention it may be worth putting the goggles back on so he is willing to put his head within a foot of the water.

I want him to learn to swim. I don't care about the goggles. If he falls in a lake I'm sure the ability to swim will be of more use than not being able to swim at all

GoggleEyed Wed 29-Jun-11 22:33:02

Sorry, massive xposts! I am a slow typist!

Also, dont believe I am judging, just discussing? I dont recall saying all mothers who let their children wear goggles are feckless and should be shot! Just starting a debate/discussion. Apologies if there was 'hidden' judgement that you read into it.

I am more than happy to hear alternate viewpoints and yes, I do believe goggles help confidence at first, but how do you 'wean' them off them, anyone with any experience? As the swimming instructor has now given my son some, I see I will have to do this in the near future!

I gues sI am also, drip drip!, coming form a point of view of someone who sails, so the importance, for me, is that they dont worry about their eyes, but getting to air (good point paisley!) and swimming to safety if they fall off the boat (but of course they would be wearing life jackets, so moot point!)

littleducks Wed 29-Jun-11 22:33:15

Maybe you have less sensitive eyes! But the sensation of water is fine for me and my kids but chlorinated water stings (and makes our eyes go red). So we could jump in a reservoir (canoeing) fine with no googles.

All swimming lessons I have ever seen advertised have been in pools

IreneHeron Wed 29-Jun-11 22:33:17

Agree with you Scurry.

GoggleEyed Wed 29-Jun-11 22:35:02

'I want him to learn to swim. I don't care about the goggles. If he falls in a lake I'm sure the ability to swim will be of more use than not being able to swim at all'

Fair point, well made. I can see where you are coming from.

Irene - not a MASSIVE issue for me, just a mere annoyance that I was discussing with DH and thought to put to the MN jury. smile I was annoyed the swimming instructors had gone against our wishes.

GoggleEyed Wed 29-Jun-11 22:36:10

'Anything that increases confidence in the water is good, so if goggles do that then that is ok. Swimmers are at the greatest risk of drowning anyway. Drowning is usually due to fatigue, temperature or injury so goggles are usually irrelevant anyway.'

Another good point! Like I said earlier, I accept my view may be skewed due to upbringing on boats.

meditrina Wed 29-Jun-11 22:36:29

Mine learned to swim (with giggles, in a chlorinated pool), and it was only when they were competent (swimming, treading water etc) that survival was covered (swimming in clothes, falling in drills etc).

If there were an emergency following a fall into water, I'm as sure as I can be that, provided they surface, they can tread water whilst rubbing eyes and working out which direction to swim in for safety.

meditrina Wed 29-Jun-11 22:37:23

"goggles" - not "giggles" (though there were plenty of them too!)

BluddyMoFo Wed 29-Jun-11 22:37:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IreneHeron Wed 29-Jun-11 22:37:47

Fair enough Goggle, it is preferable to have good habits from the start, but I'm sure you can see that they are a great help to some people.

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