Baby Survival: Classes At Colonial Pool Aimed At Saving Small Children From Drowning (with slideshow)

August 15, 2008

It’s hard to watch at first. A two-year-old, under water, struggling – then you see his little hand, reaching out, he finds the edge of the pool and pulls his head above water. Then he does it again. And again.

The two-year-old is named Lachlan, and he is enrolled in West U.’s baby survival program, aimed at giving even the smallest children a fighting chance of saving their own lives if they fall into a body of water.

The class is taught at Colonial Pool by Monika Dubose, a native of Poland who has been a swimmer since she was 7. She swam competitively throughout high school, college and graduate school.

Dubose has taught private lessons, and for a while taught “mommy and me” classes, but soon realized she had a problem with the concept of playing with babies in the water when the children had no survival skills.

“I don’t want to disrespect people who teach mommy and me classes, but I don’t believe in it,” said Dubose. “I don’t believe in associating water for children with fun. It’s a great class, they associate it with fun. Then, one day mommy is cooking dinner, they see a pool, they think “oh, fun” and they fall in and drown. In a pool they should first know how to survive and float, and have a healthy appreciation for water before they have fun and make bubbles.”

About a year ago, a friend told her about the baby survival classes, and Dubose lived in Dallas for two months in order to become certified. The classes are aimed at children 6 months to 3-years-old.

The concept is to teach the children how to come up to the surface, roll onto their backs and float. For babies, it could mean the difference between drowning and enough time for an adult to find them and get them out of the water.

“Some cry, some not, just floating, waiting for someone to come get them,” said Dubose.

The older children are taught a swim, float, swim technique to get them to the side of the pool or edge of the water.

“A 15-month-old who is walking may not be strong enough to climb out, but a two-year-old will,” said Dubose.

Dubose says the classes are very intense and emotionally difficult – especially for the parents.

“Some parents are scared they won’t be able to learn because they (the children) are crying and upset,” said Dubose. “But they are still learning. The second and third weeks are hardest emotionally with the parents, but I tell them with children, one day it just clicks.”

The classes are one-on-one for only 10 minutes at a time, four times a week for four to six weeks. For West U. residents, the classes are $100 per week, for non-residents $110.

Dubose says some parents are scared their children will hate the water after participating in the classes.

“It does happen sometimes that children after the lessons are a little more apprehensive to be around water,” said Dubose. I have seen it. If he’s a little apprehensive, that’s great, it could keep him alive. I can guarantee he won’t be afraid next season.”

For more information or to sign up for classes, e-mail wroblewska.monika@gmail.com.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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