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My Learn to Swim Book

My Learn To Swim Book

Submitter: Where to begin? First, there’s the obvious (to me) idiocy of encouraging children to take on a DIY approach in learning a potentially dangerous activity like swimming. It’s actually got rather clear, well-thought-out instructions. The problem is more that with the exception of a couple brief mentions of having other people nearby, the zippy can-do text conveys the impression that it’s no big deal to jump in a pool alone and learn to swim. In the introduction (which children always read!) the author tells readers that “with the help of a grown-up you will learn many useful skills…,” but that’s the only reference I could find to adult supervision.

Then, there’s the old “don’t take books anywhere near water” issue, which seems particularly relevant to learning to swim from a library book. Which is worse: getting pool water all over the learn-to-swim library book, or thinking as you start to sink “Crap! What do I do next? I need the book!”

I’m all for self-teaching and learning from books, but some things you just have to learn through experience, with somebody else’s help.

Holly: Not to mention it’s 40 years old. The real-people pictures are terribly dated. I’m fine with the idea of having books for kids on learning to swim, but there are plenty more up-to-date books on this topic. The Submitter is from a school library where there may be different liabilities than at public libraries. We leave it up to parents to choose for their children and supervise the use of the materials. I can understand if schools need to be more careful about the materials they make available. I would think a book like this at least needs to have current safety standards.

More Swimmingly Awful Posts:

Don’t Worry! I will save you!

Hanging Out in the Shallow End

Swimming and Diving


3 Responses to My Learn to Swim Book

  • I have to comment on this one. As I near retirement age, I’ll confess that I never learned to swim. I tried three different times. I wasn’t afraid of the water, but I was a scrawny kid with no body fat. A friend didn’t believe that I couldn’t do the dead man’s float until I sank to the bottom of the pool. I also had massive leg muscles from riding my bike that often cramped up so that I had to be pulled out of the pool. The last reason was that without much body fat I got very cold very easily in the water and didn’t find it comfortable. On the other hand, I’m great at desert hiking in the heat. I finally gave up because I didn’t have easy access to a pool or beach.

  • DIY diving? Yikes. Children, can you say “head injury?” Not a good idea, hope this was weeded.

  • The pictures of those little arm floaties would be enough to send my husband into a tailspin. When our eldest was little I said I was running out for swim diapers & floaties. My husband used to be a lifeguard and he stopped me right there, and did I ever get a lecture. False sense of security, parental neglect, waste of money, HOO boy! I never brought them up again!