Pool Safety: Add These Layers of Protection to Your Residential Pool

Pool Safety: Add These Layers of Protection to Your Residential Pool  | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatic Survival Expert Katy TexasWhat’s Your Safety System?

For residential pool owners, having a safety system in place can protect the wellbeing of your family, neighbors, and friends when in and around water. The greatest water safety assurance comes from adopting and establishing the right set of water safety measures since you never know what step will save a life.

CPSC’s Pool Safely site has many helpful water safety resources and materials such as brochures, videos, tip sheets for parents and guardians to review. I highly recommend that pool owners apply multiple safety measures found in these resources to safeguard children and prevent drowning accidents, starting with:

Adult Supervision

It is very important that an adult be present at all times when a child is in and around water. A good idea is to have the “Water Watcher” wear a whistle or tag to remind themselves that they are responsible for the safety of kids in the water. Parents and guardians can also enforce some household pool rules and remind children to never swim alone or without an adult present. Some great examples of other pool rules include:

  • No bottles or glass around the pool
  • No running or pushing
  • No diving unless the pool meets the safety standards
  • Stay away from pool drains


An outdoor swimming pool barrier is a physical obstacle that surrounds a pool or spa area. This restricts small children from accessing the area without an adult present. Pool fences should be at least four feet or taller. It should not have footholds or handholds that could help a child climb over it. Fence gates should also be self-closing, self-latching to keep it closed at all times and prevent easy access to the pool.


Alarms for doors, gates, windows, pools and spas help notify adults anytime an unsupervised child is in or around water. There are a number of types of alarms that can be used in and around a pool area, but generally they should emit a sound when triggered for at least 30 seconds or more and within 7 seconds after activation. The alarm sound should be distinct from other sounds around the house such as a doorbell, telephone, and smoke alarm.

Safety Covers

A pool cover is a manual or motorized barrier that can be placed over the water’s surface. Pool covers are a great addition to a safety system because it visually says “not open”. It’s especially effective for keeping children under the age of 5 from accessing the water. All safety covers should comply with the ASTM F 1346-91 specifications – this is the standard that specifies safety performance requirements for pool covers. Pool covers should be able to hold the weight of two adults and a child to allow a rescue if a child does fall onto the cover. Most importantly, pool covers should be able to be easily and swiftly be removed from the water to respond to emergencies.

Emergency Kit

A safety toolkit is a great way to prepare materials your family may need in the event of an emergency. Place the following materials near the pool area for easy and quick access:

  • First aid kit
  • A pair of scissors to cut hair, clothing, or a pool cover if needed
  • Charged portable phone to call 911
  • Safety flotation device

Swimming Lessons

Ensuring that every family member learns how to swim is the strongest way of preventing accidents. Children as young as six months old can be enrolled in an Infant Aquatic Survival class were they could learn to flip over, float, and take breaths until help arrives. In addition, learning how to perform CPR on children and adults can be invaluable during an emergency.

No single safety system is foolproof, that’s why it’s highly recommended that several measures be put in place in every safety system! If you have any questions about pool safety, please contact me or visit www.PoolSafely.gov.

If you have any questions about the Infant Aquatic Survival program at Texas Swim Academy, please visit our programs page or stop by our facility.

How to Help Your Child Overcome a Fear of Water

How to Help Your Child Overcome a Fear of Water | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatic Survival Expert Katy TexasIt’s very understandable that many children, even adults, are afraid of water. Being in the water can be scary and overwhelming; there are no boundaries and sense of sinking is very frightening. Fear of water can stem from several causes for both adults and children:

  • An instinctive fear related to fear of drowning
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Bad experience that occurred in the past/during childhood
  • Fear of water can be transmitted to a child by parents that are themselves afraid of water
  • Any experience ingrained by swimming instructors that used inadequate and/or stressful methods of teaching.

It’s important to remember that every child has a different level of fear, whether brief or persistent. If you are looking for ways to help your child feel more comfortable in the water, here are some steps to consider:

Small Steps & Positive Reinforcement

Overcoming the fear or water is often a gradual process. For parents, that means being encouraging and positive even at the small steps. Introducing your child’s feet into the water and asking him or her to dip a little bit further is a example of small, simple step. When your child does dip further, be sure to respond with positive reinforcement. This will help your child connect positive feelings with swimming. It’s very important that parents do not force a child to go into the pool or shame a child for being scared; this can further exaggerate a child’s fear. Instead, acknowledge the fear and respond with patience and positivity.

Focus More on Fun

A focus on fun is a critical component to showing a scared and cautious child that swimming can be fun. Children sometimes become more comfortable in large bodies of water only after they are convinced that water is safe and fun in smaller situations. Take advantage of bath time to introduce a child to swimming activities such as kicking and light paddling. Playing games, singing songs, bringing in their favorite plastic toys, reading books about all of water’s fun possibilities can associate water with fun times.

Call in the Swim Pros

Unfortunately, the best intentions can sometimes validate a children’s existing fear of water or play a role in creating one. Children have a significantly better chance of overcoming fear of water with a professional instructor who understands the complexity and sensitivity involved. For parents who are introducing their child to the water or overcoming any reservations that a child may have regarding the water, I high recommend starting swimming lessons as early as possible. Infant Aquatics is a swim survival program that teaches children and infants as young as six months old basic swimming skills that they can use to save their life in the event of an accidental plunge in the pool. While learning the basics in a one-on-one environment with an instructor, students gradually become more confident and comfortable in the water.

If you have any questions about the fear of water or the Infant Aquatics ℠ program, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

When is the Best Time to Enroll a Child in Swim Lessons?

When is the Best Time to Enroll a Child in Swim Lessons? | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatic Survival Expert Katy TexasOne of the most common questions that parents ask is, “At what age should my child start taking swim lessons?”

To ensure a lifelong love and confidence for swimming, it’s important to get your child comfortable with the water as soon as possible. I recommend that parents start introducing their child to the water as soon as they feel comfortable doing so. Every child is different, but generally 6-9 months is a good time to consider enrolling your child in a swim program. Typically, most swim facilities will recommend that you introduce your child to the water through a parent/child class at six months old. However, parents can also enroll their six month old in an Infant Aquatic Survival class, which teaches your child how to effectively roll over from a face down position onto their backs to float, rest, and breathe all by themselves. This is also known as the roll-back-to-float swim survival method.

Parent/child swim classes give babies an opportunity to simply get comfortable in the water. When children are 18 months – 4 years old, they are ready to learn basic swim skills. In the Infant Aquatics program, however, children are already taught basic swimming skills in addition to getting familiar with the water right away. Even young children and toddlers who participate in the Infant Aquatic Survival program are able to learn a more advanced sequence of swimming face down, rolling onto their backs to breathe, and returned to swim face down again (also known as the swim-float-swim method). The Infant Aquatic Survival program not only teaches familiarity in the water to allow children to be confident and comfortable swimmers, but basic swimming skills that could save their life in an event of an accidental plunge in the water. This allows students to learn how to swim in weeks, not years, and provides them with a head start to becoming a stronger swimmer later down the road.

As some of you may know, I am a mother of 4, and a homeowner with a backyard swimming pool. All my children were taught how to swim through an aquatic survival program. I have always been very impressed by a child’s abilities in the water, even at a very young age. Babies are programmed by instinct with two very helpful reflexes to help them protect themselves from drowning and to have a natural comfort in the water. From a capability standpoint, six months is an age where most babies demonstrate the improved control of their head and overall muscular development to make early swim instruction successful. In a matter of weeks, a Infant Aquatic Survival program teaches skills not only helpful in the water, but helpful in improving a child’s visual motor skills, cognitive skills, including memorization, and verbal skills outside of the water as well. Babies are able to take on general learning just ask quickly as they do in the water and parents will notice that their child will improve his or her ability to concentrate, respond to instruction, interact socially, and more.

Again, every child is different and learns at his or her own pace so choose the earliest time that is most comfortable for you and your family to begin swimming lessons. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or visit our facility to watch our Infant Aquatic Survival classes in action!

May is National Water Safety Month: Share These Top Water Safety Tips with Your Family

May is National Water Safety Month: Share These Top Water Safety Tips with Your Family | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatic Survival Expert Katy TexasMay is National Water Safety Month, a month to recognize the beginning of swim season and to share important water safety and drowning prevention tips with families. This month is a great opportunity for your child to review water safety guidelines and participate in swim safety activities to ensure their safety this season.

Some great swim safety activities and guidelines include having your child take the Pool Safely pledge or Safe Swimmer pledge, to promise to never swim alone in the water or near drains or suction fittings, to always dive feet first into the water, and to obey the safety rules at all times, whether at a pool, beach, or water park.

One of the best ways to prevent drowning and ensure safety in the water all year long is to enroll your child in a learn-to-swim program or swim survival program. This equips them with the basic skills to use in the event of an emergency or accidental plunge in the water.

Tune to the video below as I walk through the essential water safety and drowning prevention tips to share with your family and friends for safer swim sessions this season:

For more information on water safety and drowning prevention, please visit the PoolSafely.gov and the National Water Safety Month website.

Essential Water Safety Tips To Prevent Accidental Drowning This Season

Proactive Water Safety Tips for Preventing Accidental Drowning | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatic Survival Expert Katy TexasSwim season is upon us, and I would like to share some important information regarding drowning and water safety to keep families safe this season. Unfortunately, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1-4 years according the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The World Health Organization refers to drowning as a “leading killer,” claiming the lives of 372,000 people every year.

While drowning ranks among the top 10 leading causes of death for children and young people across the world, it is completely preventable.

To reduce the risk in your home, keep a close eye on children when in and around water at all times and enroll them in a learn to swim or swim survival program. Swim survival programs such as the Infant Aquatic Survival program can save a child’s life in the event he or she takes an accidental plunge in the water. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)’s water safety and drowning prevention site, Pool Safely.gov, is a great resource for families to review.

Tune into the video as I review preventative water safety tips for drowning prevention this season. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the Infant Aquatic Survival program, please contact me.

Helpful Tips for Teaching Your Toddler About Water Safety

Helpful Tips for Teaching Your Toddler About Water Safety | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatic Expert Katy TexasWater is everywhere and can be great fun for toddlers who love to make a splash in a pool or bathtub. No matter the type of water, however, water safety is incredibly important to learn, especially at a young age.

The Hard Facts

Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children between 1 and 4 years old. And it’s the third leading cause of injury-related death for children 19 and under, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Another hard fact: Teaching children, especially toddlers, the importance of water safety is no easy feat. I have gathered a few useful water safety resources to help parents and guardians convey important water safety and drowning prevention guidelines to young ones, starting with:

Pool Safely Activity Sheet

Pool Safely is a terrific place to gather useful water safety and drowning prevention information, whether you are a parent, guardian, or residential pool owner. This site is full of videos, brochures, tip sheets that make it very easy to take in important information for keeping yourself and your family safe. One of these resources is the Pool Safely Activity Sheet. Print out this helpful coloring sheet during coloring & craft time to engage your toddler while you talk to them about pool safety. This coloring sheet provides a visual reminder of essential water safety skills for your little one. You can download the Pool Safely Activity Sheet here.

Sort It Out

Provide images of safe and unsafe water skills and let your child decide the proper way to act around water. You can choose to print out these images from a computer, hand draw, or cut different components from a magazine. Safe examples can include a child that is walking instead of running near a pool or a young child with a parent in the pool. Some unsafe examples might be a child swimming alone without an adult present or a swimmer diving into a shallow area of water. Allow your child to sort the images and determine what is safe and what is not. Then, go over pool safety practices after sorting is complete.

Pretend Play & Pledge

Pretend or dramatic play activities offer children the opportunity to practice important water safety skills without the danger of real water. Outline the floor with blue tape or set out a blue blanket to indicate a pool, beach, or lake. Teach your child to look for you or a guardian before carefully getting into the “water” and to never run near the blue area. After he or she has reviewed this and other important water safety guidelines, you and your child can take the Pool Safely pledge together. Say the pledge out loud and have your child do the same to finish out play time!

Practice Makes Perfect

According to the Lifesaving Society, the majority of backyard pool-drowning victims under five years old were alone when they took an accidental plunge in the pool. This is why it’s important for parents and guardians to provide supervision at all times without a second to spare. In the event that a child does fall into the water and supervision is not present, the Infant Aquatic Survival program, a program that focuses on survival swimming and the roll-to-back-float method, can save his or her life. Tune into the video below to learn more about the Infant Aquatic Survival program:

As an Infant Aquatic Survival Expert, I’m here to answer any of your questions regarding this program and other ways to keep your child safe this swim season. Please feel free to contact me.

Infant Aquatics Isn’t Just for Babies: Your Child Can Also Learn Water Safety and Survival Techniques

Infant Aquatics Isn’t Just for Babies: Your Child Can Learn Water Safety and Survival Techniques  | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatic Survival Specialist Katy TexasDespite its name, the Infant Aquatics Survival program at Texas Swim Academy isn’t just for babies! The program equips young children as well with the essential skills he or she needs to feel safe, comfortable, and confident in the water.

Texas Swim Academy strives to not only teach students how to swim but essential water safety skills and survival techniques. Students as young as six months old can turn to face the water and roll-back-to-float when they need to breathe, which is a crucial skill to learn in the event of an accidental plunge in the water. A high priority for us is making sure every child learns these necessary skills of survival. While it is recommended for parents to enroll their children in swim lessons as early as possible, we welcome young children to enroll in this fundamental program as well.

As an Infant Aquatic Survival specialist, I believe in not only teaching students how swim, but also teaching them water safety and survival skills that they can use for a lifetime. If you have any questions, please contact me directly or stop by our facility.

Tune into the video below to learn more about the Infant Aquatic Survival program at Texas Swim Academy:

Aquatic Therapy for Children on the Autism Spectrum

Aquatic Therapy for Children on the Autism Spectrum | Texas Swim Academy Katy Texas

I’m really proud of the work I do for children with special abilities and children on the autism spectrum. It’s incredibly rewarding personally because I am able to witness first hand the amazing difference aquatic therapy can make in these kids’ lives, and I’m just as excited for the parents, who in many cases for the first time are able to watch their children enjoy quality of life improvement from being in the water:

  • Fewer episodes of repetitive behaviors
  • Quality social interaction
  • Improved attention span
  • Better physical fitness

And these improvements are not just wishful thinking. Two recent studies listed with the National Institutes of Health, one from 2010 and the other from 2011, illustrate exactly how swim lessons are one of the most effective techniques for engaging children with special abilities:

Sensory comfort. Many children with special needs find the feeling of water comforting, as well as organizing. Aquatic therapy provides refuge from more chaotic environments.

Vestibular stimulation. Moving in the water allows full, controlled exploration of movement, which helps develop body awareness and motor learning. Our Adaptive Aquatics program can really boost motor activity comfort and confidence.

Muscle strength. Aquatic therapy provides activities that help develop muscle strength, in and out of the water.

Fun! Swim lessons are fun for kids, and enthusiasm encourages them to play, explore and develop a variety of physical and social skills. Aquatic therapy doesn’t seem like work, even though the activities are specifically designed to progress children toward important developmental goals.

If you are curious to learn more about our Adaptive Aquatics swim program, please visit our program page where you can hear what parents are saying. Or, please contact me directly – I’m happy to answer any of your questions and tell you more about the wonderful benefits children and parents can enjoy.

Reduce Your Child’s Risk of Drowning with These Water Safety Tips

Reduce Your Child's Risk of Drowning with These Water Safety Tips | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatics Survival Katy Texas

As an Infant Aquatics Survival Specialist, water safety is a topic I like to focus on all year long, not just during swim season. At Texas Swim Academy, we not only teach students how to swim, but we focus on educating parents and children about the importance of water safety in and around water. Unfortunately, accidental drownings happen too often, and 1 in 5 of these deaths happen to children under the age of 14. To avoid these tragedies, parents and guardians must be proactive and take preventative measures. By enrolling your child in an Infant Aquatics program, he or she has ability to save his or her own life. In addition, ensuring that all home pools and spas have the recommended pool safety equipment such as a pool fence or pool alarm creates extra layers of prevention. In the event that your child is missing, a pool or spa is often the first place to look, since many children are naturally drawn to the water.

Pool Safely is a great place to find resources on pool safety, drowning prevention, and steps you can take to ensure a safe environment for your child. Every step counts! Tune into the video below to learn more pool safety tips.

Home Swimming Pool Safety Guidelines

Every pool owner, especially if you have young children, should pay close attention to pool safety. Infant Aquatics Survival lessons are a very important step in protecting your child against drowning, however accidents at home can still happen and basic pool safety guidelines are a way of minimizing danger. Here’s what you need to know about safety in home swimming pools:

Home Swimming Pool Safety Guidelines | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatics Katy Texas

Pool safety equipment. Home swimming pools should be equipped with the basics for pool safety, including a pool cover and safety drain covers. Choose a pool drain that is compliant with the PS&S Act for the safest option. In addition, pool fencing with an alarm or a water movement alarm are great equipment to warn you that a drowning accident could be underway, especially at times when you are not using the pool. If you are having a pool built, zero-depth entry design is safer for young children and provides a shallow play area.

Regular pool maintenance. Keep your pool clean and in good working order. Check pumps, drains and covers regularly, along with pool chemicals.

Pool safety skills. A supervising adult should know both life-saving basics and CPR for children and adults. Children should be schooled in the fundamentals of pool and water safety, including no running in the pool area, no diving into shallow water, stay away from drains and covers, and swim with a buddy.

Always, always supervise children while swimming. Regardless of their ability in the water, swimming children should always be actively supervised by an adult. NEVER let kids swim alone. Pool Safely has a great safety and and drowning prevention guide for parents and guardians to review before swim seasons starts again.

Additional pool safety equipment. Pool Safely recommends that parents create a pool safety toolkit to keep near a pool or spa. This would include a first aid kit, a pair of scissors to cut hair, clothing, or pool cover if needed, a charged portable cell phone, and a flotation device.

34412_112749668785080_1377721_nA swimming pool that is maintained safely is a pool that is ready for maximum fun and enjoyment. More importantly, home swimming pool safety guidelines significantly reduce the risk of a drowning accident. Keep your pool and your kids safe and enjoy your time in the water! Feel free to visit the Pool Safely website for more swimming safety information.