Drowning: Recognize the Signs, Learn What to Do, Stay Safe, and Prevent Dry Drowning

You’ve probably seen videos of lifeguards jumping in at a community swimming pool to rescue kids — when the pool was full and no one else noticed the child in trouble. It’s true: Drowning doesn’t look like drowning (at least not how it’s portrayed in the movies). Usually, there’s no big commotion and wildly splashing arms. Lifeguards are trained to recognize the signs of drowning. Luckily, as a parent, you can become informed so you’ll know what it looks like when someone is drowning, what to do when someone is drowning, how to stay safe while swimming, and what dry drowning is.

How to Recognize the Signs of Drowning

  • There’s no yelling. Think about it: You breathe and talk with the same part of your body. So, if you’re in distress and gasping for breath, do you really think your body is going to put a pause on breathing so you can yell and scream? Nope. When you’re drowning, you can’t scream if you can’t breathe. That’s why drowning is actually often silent.
  • There’s no frantic waving. When you’re in deep water, what happens when you stop using your hands to swim or paddle and you raise them straight up? You start sinking. There’s no time for any frantic waving around for help when you’re drowning because you’re using all your energy — and your arms — just to stay above water.
  • There IS furious “ladder” kicking. It’s the body’s natural reflex to get UP and out of that water, so it looks like climbing a ladder…fruitlessly. When someone is trying their hardest to move in the water but just not getting anywhere, something’s probably wrong.
  • And a blank stare. When in distress, we shut out all surrounding distractions to focus on saving ourselves. If someone is drowning you’ll notice a blank or glassy stare even if everything else seems alright (or maybe even closed eyes).
  • Their mouth is at (or below) water level. A person who is drowning will be bobbing dangerously closer and closer to having their mouth completely under the water.

What to Do When Someone May Be Drowning

  • Ask, “Are you OK?” and wait for a verbal response. Don’t just wait for a slight nod of the head. An actual verbal response means the person is able to get a breath (for now), but no sound is a sign of drowning.
  • Call 911. You’re dealing with precious seconds here, and time is of the essence.
  • Throw out a floatation device. Although a person drowning may not be able to actually grab it, someone in distress may be able to.
  • Grab a life jacket — and the person who is drowning. You will be of no help if you find yourself drowning, too, so make sure you have a floatation device for yourself so the victim will not pull you under as well. Keep the victim’s head above water and head for safety.

What is Dry Drowning?

As if worrying about your child drowning isn’t scary enough, you’ve probably also heard about something called “dry drowning.” What exactly is dry drowning? It’s also called secondary drowning and, fortunately, it’s uncommon. It’s pretty much when water gets into the lungs, where it’s not supposed to be. So, if your child is in distress in the water and has to be pulled out for near-drowning, you should always make sure he or she receives adequate medical attention.

  • What if my child swallows water? We’ve all accidentally swallowed some water (or ate some fishes, as we say at Goldfish Swim School) at times while swimming, and most of the time there’s nothing to worry about. A quick cough and all is right.
  • When should I worry? It’s when the coughing is continuous, persistent and increasingly labored that you should seek immediate medical attention. Also, if your child is sleepier than usual or a little “foggy” after a near-drowning incident, call or visit your pediatrician right away.

How to Stay Safe While Swimming

  • Always swim with a buddy. No matter your age or skill level, always swim with at least one other person.
  • Have life-saving equipment nearby. That may mean life jackets, floatation devices, long poles in a pool, a first aid kit, and more.
  • Keep a phone nearby. You probably always have your phone nearby to be able to take pictures of your kids doing cute stuff while swimming — but you need to be ready to call 911 if needed, too.
  • Learn CPR and rescue breathing. Every second counts in an emergency, and you’ll be able to help until medical professionals arrive.
  • Know how to swim. Making sure your kids know how to swim is the best way to stay safe in the water! Even for kids who “know” how to swim, lessons are still beneficial for many reasons.

Learn to Swim at Goldfish Swim School

The best defense against drowning is learning how to swim properly! Have your kids learn this lifelong skill from instructors who use integrity, compassion and trust to teach kids ages 4 months and older how to swim (yes, your baby can start learning to swim before age 1!). Find the location nearest you and sign up online today for a GOLDEN experience you can celebrate!


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5 Perks of the Goldfish Swim Team


Does your child love to swim, but you’re not into that whole super-competitive atmosphere? The Goldfish Swim Team is the answer! Sure, Goldfish Swim School offers lessons for kids ages 4 months and older (yes, babies can learn to swim before age 1!), but when your little one has mastered all the skill levels it’s time to show off those extraordinary results by joining the Goldfish Swim Team!

No pressure on the Goldfish Swim Team

The Goldfish Swim Team is a no-pressure swim team for ages 5-12. That means no pressure for kids AND parents! By that, we mean you won’t have to sit for hours of practices each week, and hours of swim meets on family time Saturdays, only to have your youngster frustrated with the whole ordeal.

In addition, the team swims in a relaxed atmosphere at Goldfish Swim School — which means stopping after swimming a length so your child can regroup and really focus on performing those swim strokes correctly.

There are other perks as well. Read on:

5 Perks of the Goldfish Swim Team

  • Improved Technique. The focus of the Goldfish Swim Team differs from most other swim teams in that we’re interested in technique, not so much winning or losing. While many other teams focus on swimming distances in the fastest time, the Goldfish Swim Team stresses the importance of endurance, with attention on starting, making turns, and stroke development.
  • Coaches get off the sidelines. One of the coolest things about the Goldfish Swim Team is that the coaches are actually in the water with the kids. This allows coaches to use integrity, compassion and trust to help the kids reach their fullest potential — and become better swimmers!
  • Small group size. On the Goldfish Swim Team, the student-to-coach ratio is 7:1. That means your child will be able to receive more hands-on instruction to work on perfecting those swim skills.
  • Parent feedback. We know you want to know how your child is performing, and what skills he or she needs to work on (and what he or she is already excelling at!). That’s why our coaches will talk to you during the last five minutes of each and every practice (Our WOW! customer service at work!).
  • No scary tryouts. Swimming is hard work, and being on a swim team should be fun! Time for the super-competitive stuff will come later in life. We think that for kids ages 5-12, the Goldfish Swim Team should be a fun, inclusive way to learn the ropes once they’ve passed our Pro Level.

How the Goldfish Swim Team Works

Kids on the Goldfish Swim Team practice for one hour, once a week (yay for not having to cart them around several times a week!). Each quarter, there is a swim meet where kids will swim against each other. Meets are not mandatory — and they only last an hour — but that’s where the fun is! We’ll post a sign-up sheet a few weeks before the meet, so parents can talk to their kids about what event to choose. We’ll post each swimmer’s times after the meet, and celebrate by handing out ribbons to the participants. It’s a GOLDEN experience for everyone!

Just like other swim teams, we’ll follow a workout regimen that includes the individual medley, butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle. Kids will be building up endurance while competing in a fun environment.

Plus, the Goldfish Swim Team is low commitment. Got vacations coming up? Other lessons? Not sure you want to commit to yet another activity? Not a problem! Your kids can stop and come back at any time.

Sign up today!

Contact your local Goldfish Swim School location for the most up-to-date information on costs, hours, contact information and more. Ready to suit up? Goldfish Swim Team has teamed up with Different Strokes Swim Shop for all your swim accessory and team apparel needs.


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10 Reasons Why a Party at Goldfish Swim School Rocks


Want to really make a splash for your child’s next party? Goldfish Swim School is the perfect place to celebrate and really let the kids have a great time!

Why are we so awesome? We’ve got 10 great reasons why!

10 Reasons Why a Party at Goldfish Swim School Rocks:

1. Parents can relax. Playing host can be a lot of work. Tending to the kids is enough of a job, and it takes away from you actually being able to enjoy celebrating your child on his or her special day! At a Goldfish Swim School party, you can take photos and laugh along with the kids. Now that’s a GOLDEN experience!

2. The decorating is done! When you have a party at Goldfish Swim School, you don’t have to worry about running around last-minute to gather all the decorations to create a festive atmosphere. We’ve got you covered: Each Goldfish Swim School location is already decked out with a fun, tropical vibe. But we’ll also take care of hooking you up with balloons, tropical decorations and centerpieces! That’s some WOW! customer service!

3. No setup or clean up. That’s right. Goldfish Swim School has table coverings, plates, cups and napkins ready for your party — which means you don’t have to shop for your own, and there are no dishes to clean and put away afterwards. Score!

4. No need to order a cake. Trying to decide where to order a cake from, what kind of cake you want, and when to pick it up just puts more on your plate (no pun intended). Leave it up to us; we’ll have cupcakes and beverages waiting for your party when you get here. You can even order pizza for an additional cost, if you’d like.

5. Invitations? Check. No need to run up to the store and rummage through the invitations and hand write the info, or browse the infinite amount of online invitation selections and order them in time. Why? Goldfish Swim School provides invitations — with a map to our location —  and matching envelopes. Easy-peasy!

6. A gift! Your special child will actually get a nifty Goldfish Swim School T-shirt to wear at the party, if desired.

7. Play time! You’ve probably had parties in the past where you’ve had to check out Pinterest for fun activities for the kids to do, right? Or perhaps you had a party somewhere and had to keep making sure the kids were having fun. Well, kids will have so much fun at Goldfish Swim School that they won’t want to leave! Plus, chances are they will be pretty happy and tuckered out after so you will know the party was a success.

8. Lifeguards on duty. Safety is one of our top priorities at Goldfish Swim School, and a party is no different. Our lifeguards will help keep everyone safe, but please remember that if your child can’t swim independently, you’ll need an adult in the water with him or her (There’s no extra charge for adults!).

9. Games! Your kids will probably have enough fun using their imaginations and playing in the water, but our instructors will be on hand to help organize games, races, and more with them if you’d like.

10. Private use of the facility. For two hours, it’s just you and your party. You’ll have an hour and 20 minutes to play in the pool, and 40 minutes to sing “Happy Birthday” (if you are hosting a birthday party) and eat cupcakes. Plus, you won’t have to worry about having a party during the week at an odd time! Our parties are on Saturdays*, the perfect time to have all the neighborhood kids and cousins together to celebrate. (*at participating locations. Some may host parties on Sundays, as well.)

Goldfish Swim School Party Packages*

For a party of 1-14 kids: $450

For a party of 25-35 kids: $550

For a party of 36-46 kids: $650

(purchase an extra ½ hour for $60)

*Prices may vary by location

Book your birthday party at Goldfish Swim School!

We have plenty of locations across the country, so find one near you and give us a call to set things up for your child’s birthday party.

You can even sign up your child for swimming lessons, and you’ll soon see the extraordinary results Goldfish Swim School provides!


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Swimming with “Tubes” in the Ears, and Other Ear-Related Swimming Questions

Does your child have tubes in his or her ears, and you’re wondering if you have to stay far away from the water this summer? Worried about ear infections, or swimmer’s ear? We’ve got answers for you! At Goldfish Swim School, we want to give you a GOLDEN experience every time. That’s why we treat all of our swimmers (and their parents!) with integrity, compassion and trust — and why we want to give you the scoop on some common questions about ear safety when swimming.

Can my child swim with “tubes” in his or her ears? Is it really safe?

In short, yes! If your child had a bunch of ear infections and finally got relief (hopefully) by getting “tubes” in his or her ears, you really don’t want anything to interfere with that. The procedure to get tubes involves draining fluid from the eardrum and keeping that incision open with tiny tubes. Clean water, like swimming in the pool at Goldfish Swim School, is fine even if your child has tubes in his or her ears.

However, swimming in lakes, diving, and fully submerging your child’s head in dirty, soapy bath water if he or she has tubes in the ears should be approached with caution. Talk to your child’s doctor if you have any concerns.

Will my child get an ear infection from swimming?

Ear infections are definitely no fun for kids (or their parents!), so it’s understandable you may be concerned. The good news is that it is generally accepted that getting water in the ear does NOT cause ear infections. Whew! Inner ear infections are primarily caused by bacteria or a virus that travel internally to the ear, often from a cold or allergy. So, your child can continue lessons and keep on learning these 5 Things All Kids Should Know How to Do in the Water.

Should my child wear earplugs while swimming in a pool?

Back in the day (before us parents looked up everything on the Internet), the general consensus was that wearing earplugs was the best way to prevent ear infections and keep those ear tubes safe. However, earplugs generally aren’t necessary — and in fact some studies show that wearing earplugs can potentially increase ear infections. But when it comes to swimming at the beach, there is more potential for issues because of the lake bacteria, so always check with your child’s doctor.

If you do decide earplugs are the answer for you, we’ve got some (and other cool stuff) for sale in our Treasure Island Pro Shop. That’s some WOW! customer service, don’t you think?

What is “swimmer’s ear,” and should I be worried?

Swimmer’s ear is not an inner ear infection. It’s an infection of the outer ear, generally brought on by several factors and triggered by high bacteria counts in the water (like in lakes). Your children should be fine during lessons at Goldfish Swim School — just be sure to dry their ears gently after swimming.

Start Swim Lessons at Goldfish Swim School

We have plenty of locations (with more on the way), so find the Goldfish Swim School nearest you and sign up today — and soon you’ll be able to celebrate the extraordinary results you’ll see from your little swimmer!



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4 Reasons Why Summer is the Perfect Time to Start Swim Lessons

Really, any time is a great time to start swim lessons, but summer is easily the perfect time to sign up at Goldfish Swim School. Why? Here are 4 Reasons Why Summer is the Perfect Time to Start Swim Lessons:

1. Summer = swimming

The sun is shining, the temperature is rising and the days are long. So, what do kids naturally want to do to stay busy, have fun and beat the heat? SWIM! Most kids are drawn to the water — especially if other kids are already there! Follow up on that desire to play in the water and sign up the kids for swimming lessons. Not only will your children gain important benefits from swimming, but they’ll also learn the 5 Things Every Kid Should Know How to Do in the Water. That’s certainly something to celebrate, don’t you think?

2. Meet new kids and parents!

New to the neighborhood? It can be hard to meet families with children who are the same age as (or have similar interests) as yours. When you sign up for swimming lessons at the neighborhood Goldfish Swim School, you’ll have the opportunity to meet kids and their parents. Playdates for the kids — AND the parents — may be in your future!

3. Beat the “I’m bored” groans

It happens. As much as you try to create interesting crafts from Pinterest, send the kids outside or let them play video games so their days are filled with a variety of things to do, you’ll still hear it: “I’m bored!” The horrors! Well, we know how you can help keep those groans at bay: Take the kids to swimming lessons at Goldfish Swim School! There are classes available for all skill levels, ages 4 months and older (so if you have kids of all ages, and a baby, they can all take lessons at the same time in a different class level). Win-win!

4. Learn water safety

Water safety is so important that Goldfish Swim School teaches it during every single lesson, plus we have a Water Safety Awareness Week several times a year! During summer, you’re spending a lot of time outdoors, quite often close to some water — whether that’s at a pool or the beach. Even if your kids already know how to “swim” (that is, hang out in the water), they’ll still benefit from having proper swim lessons because they’ll learn water safety skills that will help keep them safer all summer.

Sign up for lessons at Goldfish Swim School

Check out all the Goldfish Swim School locations and sign up for the one closest to you! Our instructors use integrity, compassion and trust to ensure your little swimmer has a GOLDEN experience with extraordinary results each week.

Already swimming at Goldfish Swim School?

If your children are already enrolled at Goldfish Swim School, make sure they are sticking with lessons during the summer for these 5 reasons. And maybe they can talk a friend into joining to expand the summer fun together!


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