Unite This Summer To Champion Every Aussie Kid’s Right To Swim
Childs Farm has joined forces with Australian Olympic Gold medallist Brooke Hanson to champion every Aussie kid’s right to enjoy the water this summer, even those who suffer with sensitive skin.
Australian summertime sees an exponential increase in children swimming in the pool and the beach, and Brooke has a number of tips and recommendations – from skin care, to confidence and safety – that parents can use to ensure their children feel comfortable in the water as the weather heats up.
“With summer upon us, it’s important for us as parents to consider the various ways in which our children can find water environments challenging. Though water safety is always paramount and spoken about a lot, there tends to be less discussion around the physical issues many Aussie kids face at the beach or pool,” says Brooke Hanson.
She continues: “Skin sensitivity is one of the biggest, yet less recognised issues that many kids endure year after year. A huge number of Aussie children have problems with sensitive skin – including one in three who suffer from eczema. Eczema skin experts, including Eczema Association Australasia (EAA), confirm that chlorinated water can be aggravating for some eczema sufferers and that salt and sand from beach environments can irritate and, in worst cases, get stuck in cracked or broken skin.
“I myself grew up on the beach and spent every day in the water – the ocean, swimming pool and backyard pool. Some days, I would spend over six hours in the water, and my skin has really taken a hit. I continue to have very sensitive skin today – as well as a young, active family who spend loads of time in the water, including my youngest, Matilda, who suffers quite badly with skin sensitivities.
“As such, I’m keen to boost awareness and get more Aussie parents thinking about the water challenges some of our kids face heading into swim season, and to provide some tips and insights to hopefully help address some of these issues. I hope that by teaming up with Childs Farm we can make a real difference and support every Aussie kid’s right to feel comfortable and confident in the water this summer and beyond.”
Brooke’s Top 5 Tips for Helping Kids Feel Comfortable in the Water
1. Moisturise and wash skin before and after leaving the water
“For eczema sufferers, the EAA advises applying moisturiser immediately before and after swimming, as well as washing the skin clean straight after leaving the water. This is something I’ve found really useful in terms of reducing pain associated with water and skin sensitivities for both myself and my kids.
“My ultimate parent hack for making this process easy is Childs Farm’s 3 in 1 Swim, combined with their Baby Moisturiser. I use this product on myself and my three kids – Cooper, Billy and Matilda – whenever we jump in the pool, head to surf life saving or take a dip at our local beach or creek.
“The 3 in 1 Swim is super compact, lightweight and easy to chuck in your bag and whip out as soon as you need it. It functions as a shampoo, conditioner and body wash all in one, and is a great hassle-free hair-to-toe after swim skin and hair care solution, especially if you’re on the go! It saves me carrying loads of individual products around and gets the salt, sand and chlorine off our skin as we leave the water.
“I pair the Childs Farm 3 in 1 Swim with the Childs Farm Baby Moisturiser before and after entering the water, which is great because we are all prone to dry skin and skin sensitivities. The Baby Moisturiser helps to retain and replenish the skin’s moisture whilst and after swimming – and has become a go-to game changer for whenever we’re in the water.
“It is also important to me – and likely many other Aussie parents – that both the Childs Farm’s 3 in 1 Swim and Baby Moisturiser products are free from artificial colours, as well as vegan certified, dermatologist and paediatrician approved as suitable for newborns upwards. The whole Childs Farm range is also suitable for sensitive skin and also suitable for those who may be prone to eczema – a key factor for eczema sufferers like little Matilda and I.”
2. Swim safety is everything!
“As a mum of three children who love the water, weekly swimming lessons are essential. Swim safety is not only critical in terms of protecting children from potential harm, but also for equipping them with the skills needed to feel happy, confident and comfortable in a variety of water environments. Learning to swim is so important from the early stages of sensory exploration; getting familiar with water, basic development skills, and developing a sense of independence in a safe and supervised way,” says Brooke, who is also a proud AUSTSWIM ambassador.
“Our children have missed many swimming lessons this year due to COVID, which makes swimming lessons even more of a priority now that swimming pools are continuing to reopen. As summer heats up, we will also see our little ones frequenting the water much more – and, with such, water risks will also increase.
“It’s important to remember that water safety begins with you as the parent. Ensure that you’re always within arm’s reach whenever your family is in, on or around water. Regardless of someone’s swimming ability, no person is ever drown-proof. Also, remember that young children are fascinated by and attracted to water. Recognise and/or eliminate potential water dangers around your home: fish ponds, bathtubs, wading or swimming pools, and ensure your pool-fence is legally compliant and always shut.
“Water is everywhere and it’s not always clear, clean and heated like in household environments. As parents, I also believe it’s key for us to educate both ourselves and our kids about water safety knowledge and personal survival skills for beaches, rivers and lakes, in addition to water environments within the home.
“I also make sure that – whenever I’m supervising kids in the pool – they have access to floating devices and kickboards so that if they do have any moments of self-doubt or anxiety, they can easily grab onto something safe and buoyant. These are great tools for kids learning to swim who might be scared to let go of edges or their parents.”
3. Do water homework with your kids
“I truly believe in the importance of going beyond swimming lessons and being proactive with additional water play when it comes to building skills and confidence for kids in the water. Like anything with children’s development, kids need consistent reinforcement and repetition to ingrain, retain and build confidence in the skills they are learning.
“Following on from my kids’ swim lessons, I always continue to use songs, games and fun activities in my backyard pool, as well as the beach, creek, river, bath and shower, to solidify their learnings and continue building their water comfort and confidence. I like to call this ‘water homework’.
“Children learn a variety of skills in water, including floating, safe entries, breathing and movement and it’s always nice to continue to practice these whenever they’re in the water.”
4. Use keywords to create positive reinforcement
“Keywords when building water skills and confidence for kids can be great tools. Letting all family members know – including aunts, uncles, siblings and grandparents – is a good idea to ensure that everyone is aligned and delivering consistent messages.
“For example, keywords like ‘1,2,3’ or ‘Matilda, Ready, Go!’ can be super helpful when practising ducking under water and holding breath. You can also repeat and practice these keywords in the bath or shower.
“Other keywords such as “Paddle Kick, Paddle Kick” when teaching swimming strokes, or “Safe, Safe” when reminding kids to do safe water entries at the pool, lake or beach, can also be very useful for creating immediate and lasting impact. Using ‘Monkey, Monkey’ when a child is holding the edge of the pool and finding their way to the step or ladder, is another valuable and commonly used technique by AUSTSWIM teachers.
“These keywords should be used continuously over summer across all water environments to help reinforce safety and confidence messaging to your kids.”
5. Foster familiarity and fun with nursery rhymes and toys
“Nursery Rhymes including ‘Humpty Dumpty’ and ‘Ring a Ring o Rosie’ are also great techniques to use when educating kids about water safety and water play.
“Parents often talk about the difficulties and discomforts their kids face when first learning to duck under water or getting used to waves, and I always suggest using songs kids are familiar with to bring a sense of fun and familiarity to the process.
“Toys in the pool and bath can also be another fantastic way to get children ready for blowing bubbles and holding their breath. Ducking their favourite characters underwater with them or getting them to blow up inflatable toys or balloons will help to get them used to taking big breaths and holding breath for longer periods of time.”
CHILDS FARM IS A PROUD PARTNER OF AUSTSWIM, AUSTRALIA’S PREMIER EDUCATOR IN SWIMMING AND WATER SAFETY. CHILDS FARM IS ALSO A GOLD PARTNER OF THE ECZEMA ASSOCIATION AUSTRALASIA (EAA).