Sink or Swim {Water Safety Book Review}

water safety book review

(This post is sponsored by Joy Symons. I was provided with an electronic copy of the book for the purpose of this review).

 I am a passionate advocate of water safety, as you may have noticed from my Water Babies series. Since becoming a mum, my safety alarm bells have amplified and I am determined to keep my son as safe as possible in any environment he is in. Perhaps it is due to my own lack of skills in the water that I am particularly concerned about his water safety – but whatever the case may be, I am passionate about it and want him – and other children – to be safe in and around the water.

Through the Water Babies series, I have met some amazing individuals and businesses as dedicated as I am to promoting water safety. One of those individuals is the amazing Joy Symons, co-founder of Aqualification Fitness in Queensland. Joy is passionate about water safety with children and their families, as well as creating a partnership between parents and swim centres to ensure that children are comfortable, confident and safe in all aquatic environments. Joy has recently brought out a book, called Sink or Swim, aimed at helping parents prepare their children for swimming lessons and water safety. She asked if I would review the book as part of our partnership in the Water Babies series, and I couldn’t wait to see the knowledge and wisdom she would be sharing with us parents.

Initial Impressions

I received the eBook version of Sink or Swim (it also comes in a print version) and what I found was that it was clear, easy to read and very appealing to read. I like that the book isn’t overrun by images to detract from the message it is conveying, but it has gorgeous clear photographs at the start of each chapter, plus gorgeous little water images in the bottom corners of each page. The headings are eye-catching with different tones of blue, but not too fancy that it makes it hard to decipher the words.

My first impression as I started reading this book was that it is the perfect handbook for parents looking to get their children into swimming lessons. I think all swimming centres should have these ready to give new families enrolling in their classes, as it provides all the necessary information involved in attending lessons, including equipment, communication and public health and safety.

What information does Sink or Swim include?

As we progressed through the Water Babies series, I feel like I was constantly a broken-record saying, “this is common sense, this is common sense…”, however what we ALL know is that if this information was common sense, we wouldn’t be having the increase in drownings and injuries that we’ve been seeing. Sink or Swim includes ALL the information you would need to get your little ones ready for swimming lessons. But perhaps, most importantly, it covers all the information YOU as a parent will need to get ready for swimming lessons.

I think what Joy covers that is most significant in her book is the important element of communication between parents and the swimming teacher/centre. Many parents may not even think about this (to be honest, we haven’t either, since starting our 7-month old son in swimming lessons 3 months ago), but it is crucial to develop a dialogue between yourself and the teacher to find out how your child is doing. If you want your child to be safe around the water, you need to be talking with the teacher about how your child is doing (Can they tread water? Have they got the fundamental skills they need? Or the most IMPORTANT question, What can I do to help them to develop their skills?).

Joy covers so many elements of swimming lessons that we might not have paid particular attention to, such as the importance of the teacher/child/parent match (do you connect well with your child’s swimming teacher?), and not undermining the swimming teacher (as a primary school teacher, I soooooo relate to this!).

I also like that Sink or Swim goes in-depth into topics such as public health and safety (including photography – who would have thought of that if it wasn’t written out for us?), the logistics of lessons (running late, make-up lessons, medical conditions, separation anxiety) and even how to properly put on a cap and goggles – because there IS a proper way to do it! This book is LITERALLY a swimming lesson go-to manual for everything you need to know!

Swimming lessons as a Partnership 

What Joy really hones in on in her book is that your child’s swimming lessons are actually a partnership between us as the parents and the swim school. I know I have been guilty of dropping my son at swimming lessons (although, in my defense, he goes in with his dad because he is in the infant classes), but for parents with older children, we can be guilty of dropping our children off and handing responsibility to the swimming teachers. Yes, obviously that is part of their job, however the swimming teachers won’t be around your child when they go swimming at the beach, in your backyard pool, or at the holiday lake. As parents, we need to be vigilant and attend lessons with our child, and take in what they are learning so we can reinforce this at home. Sink or Swim covers all these bases, reinforcing the need for communication between parents and swim teachers/schools.

Stamp of Approval 

Joy is clearly an expert in her field and shares her wealth of knowledge regarding all areas of swimming instruction and water safety. This book is a MUST READ for all parents (and swimming teachers) with children in swimming lessons, as it will better prepare you and them to gain the most out of their lessons. Ultimately, it will give you the knowledge and understandings to promote water safety with your child/ren which is one of our big goals as parents. Sink or Swim definitely gets my Stamp of Approval.

To get your copy of Sink or Swim, visit the Aqualification website HERE.

About Fi Morrison

Fi is a mum to her beautiful, 1-year-old baby boy who she affectionately calls Starfish. She started Mumma Morrison as a way to document her life with her son, but also aims to create a supportive and encouraging community for new and prospective mums. She is returning to part-time teaching in July. Fi and her family live in Sydney.

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