Lessons for parents of young swimmers

Sometimes, danger in the water can arise from innocent actions ("Be vigilant at all times when kids are near water" by Ms Maria Loh Mun Foong; Tuesday).

During my youth, I liked to stand on the shoulders of my fellow swimmers to make a dive into the water.

On one occasion, I did this while I was in the sea, and hit my head on the seabed. Fortunately, I was not badly hurt.

On another occasion years later, my family and I were having a picnic by the sea. My daughter was some distance away in the water with a swimming float ringed around her upper body.

I waved at her, but when she waved back, she slipped through the float and into the water.

My daughter was in the water with a swimming float ringed around her... I waved at her, but when she waved back, she slipped through the float and into the water.

Again, it was fortunate that I was able to reach her in time.

These encounters have taught me important lessons.

First, parents should ensure that swimming floats or gadgets are securely fitted on their children, especially when they are just learning how to swim.

Second, while diving is fun, parents should caution their children against diving in shallow waters.

These steps would certainly help to reduce accidents in the water, whether in the sea or in pools.

Philip Sim Ah Tee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 19, 2016, with the headline 'Lessons for parents of young swimmers'. Print Edition | Subscribe