Backyard Water Safety Series: Bobbing and Breath Control

Posted on June 22, 2022

swimming lesson

Warning: Breath holding games are extremely dangerous and can lead to shallow water blackout and drowning. Breathing in and out quickly (hyperventilating) before submerging can greatly increase this risk. Teach your children the importance of avoiding breath holding games!

The ability to hold your breath for short periods of time is an important safety skill and it contributes to coordinated breath control. Breath control is necessary for many aquatic skills which require you to briefly hold your breath and submerge your face.

To practice bobbing:
A. Hold onto the side or pool wall in chest-deep water.
B. Take a breath.
C. Bend your knees and fully submerge your head, and then straighten your legs to resurface. As you come back up, gently exhale through your mouth and nose.
D. When you mouth rises above the surface of the water, take another breath, and then repeat steps B-D.

When you are comfortable bobbing in chest-deep water, try holding onto the side and moving into chin-deep water.
Bobbing-Toward-Safety can help children return to the wall if they are in water too deep for them to touch the bottom and keep their faces out of the water. By sinking to the bottom where their feet can touch and pushing themselves forward toward to wall and up toward the surface, then getting a breath before repeating, they can make their way back to the side where they can climb to safety.

See our post Underwater Exploration to teach very young and fearful children to submerge their mouths, nose, and eyes.

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