Valley Parents: Welcome to the water edition

Valley Parents Editor
Published: 9/13/2021 4:52:52 PM
Modified: 9/13/2021 4:52:52 PM

To state the obvious, water is pretty essential to kids lives from the moment they are born. They’re bathed in it. They drink it. They play in it.

Which is one of the reasons it’s so essential that kids are taught water safety and are comfortable around it. In this edition of Valley Parents, we chose to focus on the role that water plays in the lives of children throughout the Upper Valley. This applies to the youngest of children and teenagers.

“Parents shouldn’t wait to begin teaching water safety and can begin when the child is very young, even before they learn to speak,” James Edson, coordinator for the Injury Prevention Center at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth, wrote in an email.

That’s the case at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center where instructor Karen Cox teaches “Parent and Me” swim lessons.

“It’s nice because you can kind of go at the child’s pace so it’s not like (the skills are) being pushed,” Lebanon resident David DiMinico, who was there with his 1-year-old daughter Joanna, told reporter Jasmine Taudvin.

Those lessons should continue as children age, even once they’ve learned to swim and are comfortable around water.

“Teenagers especially are vulnerable to extreme risk taking and will need help to stand up to peers who may pressure them to do unsafe activities,” Edson wrote in an email.

Children’s experiences around water might even lead to job opportunities, as is the case for recent Hanover High graduates Matt Bonner and Olivia Simon, who work as lifeguards at Storrs Hill Recreation Area.

“You have to be on call. You have to be ready at a moment’s notice,” Simon told correspondent David Corriveau.

There are also ample recreational opportunities open to children who love to swim. Among those are swim teams, like the Claremont Tiger Sharks which is based at the Claremont Savings Bank Community Center.

“Swimming is different from all your other sports,” coach Alton Martin told Corriveau. “You can put in as little effort or as much as you want, and you’re not affecting others. That kind of brings out a different kind of kid. You’ve got to have a different mindset to be a good swimmer, a fast swimmer. It takes a lot more self-motivation. What you put in is what you get out.”

With that in mind, consider using the remainder of this summer to have some safe fun with your kids around water.

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at or 603-727-3221.

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