Cold Weather Swimming Myths

Summer and warm weather months are everyone’s favorite time for swimming – it’s just a great way to cool off and have fun. But did you know winter is a wonderful time to stay active with swimming, too? Many parents keep their children away from pools and the water during cold weather months, which is a shame because fears about swimming in cold weather are overwhelmingly the product of misinformation.

Cold Weather Swimming Myths | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatics Expert Katy Texas

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Here are some of the top cold weather swimming myths:

Most colds are caught in winter. False, and easily provable. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that most colds are caught in autumn and spring, not winter. Why? Because the infectious agent that causes the common cold is dormant for a large part of the cold weather months – the name “cold” is a bit misleading, which leads us to…

Swimming during winter leads to more ear infections. In actuality, as noted above regarding colds, many of the infectious agents that cause ear infections are dormant during winter months. Ear infections from swimming are no more likely in cold weather than they are any other time of the year.

Wet hair or temperature changes cause colds. This is an old one that our mothers told us, and it’s simply not true. Numerous studies from health organizations around the world, including the American Lung Association, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the CDC have found there’s no link between wet hair, or going from warm pool water into colder air, and catching cold.

Swimming in cold weather makes you more prone to fatigue or drowning. While you definitely want to stay away from excessively cold water, swimming in a heated pool is fun and comfortable regardless of the weather outside.

So what’s the takeaway from dispelling these cold weather swimming myths? Use the same common sense and swim safety techniques you would in summer. Go ahead, get into the pool, and enjoy yourself! Texas Swim Academy offers Fun Fridays every Friday evening from 4 – 6 PM. Parents and students can spend some quality time practicing swimming skills and enjoying our indoor heated pool.

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Fun Water Safety Activities for Kids

Laughter and enjoyment are the gateways into a child’s heart, so I always use pool games as a way to introduce water safety activities to kids. Here are a few of my favorites because they are effective for teaching toddlers important swim safety lessons, and the kids have a blast playing them. These games can be enjoyed by all swim skill levels with adult supervision – always remember to keep an eye on children in the pool during any swim activity.

Simon Says (allows you to practice a variety of water survival skills)

This is the game played in parks and backyards, brought into the pool. Call out a swim safety skill: “Simon says do a back float.” “Simon says get your face wet.” “Hold the wall and get back to the steps!” Anyone who answers a command without “Simon says…” has to sit on the steps.

Red Light, Green Light (teaches comfort and movement in the water)

Another one brought in from the playground, line the kids up opposite: “Green light!” allows the kids to come to toward you as fast as they can, “Red light!” means they have to stop and anyone who doesn’t goes back to the start. Each round you can change the way the kids get across the pool: the first round is paddling in the water with a swim noodle, second round use a kickboard, third round walk with faces in the water…

Fun Water Safety Activities for Kids | Katheleen McMordie Infant Aquatics Expert Katy Texas

Timed Treasure Dive (teaches comfort underwater and holding breath)

Scatter dive toys on the bottom of the shallow end and take turns: each player has to the count of five to get as many toys as possible.

These water safety ideas for kids also teach toddlers and children to listen to instructions and carefully follow specific rules, a valuable skill to develop both in and out of the water. Swim safety for kids is meant to be fun for adults too, so parents and caregivers go ahead and jump in and enjoy yourselves!

 

Kathleen McMordie is an Infant Aquatic Survival Lead Instructor and water safety specialist located in Katy, Texas. Show owns a full-service aquatic facility, called Texas Swim Academy. Through a variety of programs, Kathleen and her staff of instructors at Texas Swim Academy strive to introduce children to water at an early age through INFANT AQUATICS, and to fully develop their swim stroke abilities through adulthood through STROKE DEVELOPMENT.

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Parent Water Anxiety Shown to Have Effects on Children

Help you child become comfortable in the water by overcoming your own water anxiety!

As a mother of four, I know how important it is for parents to feel comfortable with their children swimming in a pool, lake, or even a bathtub. Water safety should be a priority and individual responsibility for each member of the family throughout the year. You can help your children to be safe in the water by showing your own respect for the water and confidence while swimming. Since many children imitate the behavior of parents and older siblings, make pool time a family affair to encourage safe swimming.

Not comfortable in and around the water? Texas Swim Academy offers a few tips for overcoming adult water anxiety and enjoying regular parent-child swim time:

Surveys suggest that nearly two out of three adults are uncomfortable being in water over their head – if that describes your feelings in the pool, you may be passing on your fears of water to your child. This is a good time to remind parents that a positive attitude is crucial to teaching children swimming skills and water safety.

If you struggle with anxiety in the water here are some steps to increase your comfort and hopefully pass that on to your children:

Familiarize yourself with having your face in the water. This is one we teach to all early swimmers and it builds confidence in adults as well. Stand in the pool, place your hands Parent-Child Swim Benefits | Adult Water Anxietyon the side, and practice taking a breath and putting your face in the water. Goggles may help your confidence, use them if you need to.

Practice submerging yourself. Begin by holding the side of the pool and dunking yourself for a few seconds. Extend your time underwater; work your way up to letting go of the wall and settling on the bottom for a few seconds.

Spend more time underwater. Now that you are comfortable on the bottom, stay down a little longer and look around at the other swimmers. Take your time. Toddlers in our classes, some as young as eighteen-months, will often submerge themselves and look around curiously at what is going on around them. Keep practicing to increase your comfort and the time you can spend underwater.

One more tip: Swim with a friend if you can, even if they just sit poolside and watch.

Remember, successful swimming is not about propulsion: it’s about breath control, balance, and buoyancy. Comfort in the pool is important, as relaxed swimmers make better decisions underwater and are ultimately safer. These are among the most important lessons that can be passed along to your child.

Kathleen McMordie is an Infant Aquatic Survival Master Instructor and water safety specialist located in Katy, Texas. Show owns a full-service aquatic facility, called Texas Swim Academy. Through a variety of programs, Kathleen and her staff of instructors at Texas Swim Academy strive to introduce children to water at an early age through INFANT AQUATICS, and to fully develop their swim stroke abilities through adulthood through STROKE DEVELOPMENT.