Today we went swimming en masse.
I paid no thought to taking three children into a swimming pool today, I was confident in my oldest daughter's swimming ability, her friends mum is a swimming teacher, so was fairly sure of her swimming ability, together with my own ability to supervise the smallest member of today's swim squad, I felt there was no question of a safety concern.
Apparently I should have paid more attention.
We couldn't go to our usual pool, so tried a leisure complex fairly close to home and the first thing I was asked was whether the girls were competent swimmers. I immediately said yes.
Apparently I wasn't convincing enough.
The lady behind the counter looked at me sternly and said that they would need to do a swim test as a safety precaution. I must have looked a little indignant but she reassured me that it was standard practice, given I had more children than hands!
She had a point.
So after wrestling with the lockers for longer than absolutely necessary, the 2 year old insisting she can go into a changing room by herself, ensuring that shoes weren't left in said changing rooms and getting 3 small people into the pool, we were then met with the lifeguards insisting on the swim test before our feet touched the water.
I couldn't have been more proud of my eldest daughter as she cut through the water with ease, her small frame gliding through the pool and reaching the side with a determined look on her face. Unfortunately her friend isn't as strong a swimmer and so she wasn't allowed in the deep end by herself. There was a little grumbling but I couldn't fault the lifeguards and there constant eagle eyes on everything that was happening around the pool.
There was lots of laughter.
There was lots of handstands, somersaults and piggybacks in the water.
There also seemed to be a certain amount of water drank too! I kept telling the little one to blow bubbles not drink the water but when she was laughing and splashing, she also ended up coughing and spluttering too. She loves the independence of swimming off on her own with a woggle / noodle wrapped round her and still doesn't quite have the confidence to go it alone, which is fine by me, she is only 2 after all.
We all survived and go home, exhausted.
Then I read an article on secondary drowning. It was one of those things that was shared on Facebook, the kind of thing you see a friend share but then I saw it shared again and again and having been in the water only a few hours earlier, I read with interest. The main crux of the article states :
"Many parents have never heard of secondary drowning, but it can happen in a pool, in the ocean, and even in a bathtub. "It occurs when a small amount of inhaled fluid acts as an irritant, causing inflammation and leakage of liquid into the lung," says Michael Roizen, MD, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic and co-founder of YouBeauty. "In some cases, the body may respond by pushing even more liquid into the lungs (this is called pulmonary edema) over the following hours, reducing the ability to breathe and leading a person to drown in their own body fluids." The reaction can take place up to 72 hours after a near drowning incident"
If your child breathes in water or comes out of the pool coughing or sputtering, monitor them closely, keeping an eye out for difficulties in breathing, extreme tiredness or behavioral changes," says Roizen. "All of these are signs that your little swimmer may have inhaled too much fluid."
My little water babies are fine and I know how closely their safety in the pool is monitored but today has reminded me how important water safety is, from the moment your feet touch the water ...... to 72 hours hours afterwards.