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Archive for the ‘Swimming’ Category


Who here grew up playing in a portable pool at Grandma’s house? Raise a hand? I did! I personally grew up with a pool in my backyard, but remember as a child going to play at friends’ houses or Grandma’s house where there would be a portable pool to make the warm weather heat of summer a little bit more bearable. I live in New York now and even my nieces play in a portable pool on a city roofdeck because pools are scarce in the city…what was really shocking to find out this week was a new study that suggests portable or inflatable swimming pools are a greater danger to children than many parents likely realize, leading to one death every five days in the United States during warm months. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, provides harrowing descriptions of 209 backyard drownings and 35 near-drownings that have occurred in portable pools from 2001 to 2009. Scarily, I found out this study is the first U.S. research to probe the role portable pools have played in deaths or near-drownings.

Researchers restricted their study to include wading pools less than 45 centimeters deep to inflatable and soft-sided pools measuring about one meter deep.

The study, published Monday, June 20, 2011 in the journal Pediatrics, found that 209 children died in these pools between 2001 and 2009. In addition, there were 35 near-drownings reported during the same time period. The researchers reported on accidents that occurred in water depths ranging from two inches to four feet. One accident involved a parent who fell asleep in a wading pool while holding a child. Other accidents occurred during lapses in pool supervision when a parent left to answer the phone or was distracted by yard work. Two 9-year-old girls drowned in an inflatable pool after becoming entangled in a pool cover. In another case, 3-year-old twins died after leaving their home undetected and jumping into a neighbor’s unsecured four-foot-deep portable pool.

According to the study, 94 per cent of children were under age five and 56 per cent of the victims were boys. The children were also more likely to be in their own yard when the incident happened, with 73 per cent of incidents taking place there.

In this Aug. 7, 2007 file photo, Todd Fuentes, 4, left, plays with Adrian Girald, 7, second from right, and Anthony Zollinger, second from left, as his father Eugene Fuentes, right, looks on in a portable pool in Brooklyn, New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

“The anecdotal evidence was suggesting that because portable pools are readily available in many convenience stores and malls, and they’re relatively cheap, parents would pick them up, take them home, quickly assemble them, and all this would be done without a lot of forethought about the safety aspects,” said senior author, Dr. Gary A. Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

Why is there a trend in buying portable pools?
Portable pools have become a popular and affordable alternative to expensive in-ground pools or stationary above-ground pools. Unlike the fragile, inflatable pools of the past, portable pools today are sturdy and large, including some that can be filled with as much as water as a small in-ground pool. Large wading pools typically cost $100 or less, whereas very large portable pools can cost $1,000 or less. By comparison, in-ground pools can cost $30,000 or more.

The downside of portable pools?
The downside of portable pools is that they often lack the security fences and gates that most local zoning authorities typically require to surround in-ground and above-ground pools. Among the portable pool drownings that were reviewed by the Pediatrics study, at least 47 could have been prevented if the pool had been surrounded by fencing.

The researchers acknowledge that no single strategy can completely prevent a death or near drowning, and so advocate a multi-pronged approach. On the one hand, manufacturers should develop affordable safety devices for portable pools, including fencing, alarms and safety covers, which are common for in-ground pools. They also say better consumer-education programs are needed to make parents aware of the pools’ risks.

According to the study, children were under adult supervision in only 43 per cent of the cases.

In-ground pools must have fencing on all four sides, while portable pools can be put anywhere on a property, she said. In my opinion, many consumers assume such pools are safer because of their smaller size and that there is only a couple of inches of water, so it’s not that big of a worry. Portable pools can be extremely dangers and should be treated the same way parents see larger built-in backyard pools with the same importance of adult supervision.

“The thing about drowning is that it’s simply different than most other types of injuries, because if you fall from playground equipment, you usually get another chance,” he said. “With drowning, it’s quick, it’s silent and it’s final. That’s why it’s so important to prevent these events from occurring in the first place,” say Dr. Smith.

Note: Researchers obtained data for this study from the four U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission data banks: the Death Certificate file, the Injury/Potential Injury Incident file, the In-Depth Investigation file, and the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

Bottom line mommies and daddies? If you are going to use a portable or inflatable pool – you must be vigilant the entire time, never leave your child unattended and treat it as if it were an actual pool in your backyard. What’s an alternative? I loved sprinklers in the grass as a kid – shockingly they are really fun and kids always find a way to make a game or two of it in the summer heat!

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Le Top "Heart's Delight" Swimsuit

I spend most of my weekends in the summer by the pool in the Hamptons and typically it is Bob Marley’s greatest hits on repeat. I love music, and especially a variety of music, but I know it can be tough if you have a big family for everyone to agree upon the music, and especially for it to be appropriate for the kids too!

20 Songs for your Summer Jam Playlist from Le Top:

  1. “Pressure Drop” – Toots & The Maytals
  2. “Crazy (Singer Version)” – Gnarls Barkley
  3. “Dog Days Are Over” – Florence and The Machine
  4. “Rock Lobster” – B 52s
  5. “California Girls” – The Beach Boys
  6. “Steal My Kisses” – Ben Harper
  7. “No Rain” – Blind Melon
  8. “Could You Be Loved” – Bob Marley
  9. “Dancing in the Moonlight” – King Harvest
  10. “Under the Boardwalk” – The Drifters
  11. “Build me Up Buttercup” – The Foundations
  12. “Viva La Vida” – Coldplay
  13. “Take it Easy” – Eagles
  14. “Over My Head” – The Fray
  15. “Coconut” – Harry Nilsson
  16. “Wasting Time” – Jack Johnson
  17. “I Want You Back” – Jackson 5
  18. “Carolina in My Mind” – James Taylor
  19. “Margaritaville” – Jimmy Buffet
  20. “Sunday Morning” – Maroon 5

 What are some of your favorites? Enjoy and boogie down at the pool!

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Miranda is wearing a bathing suit from Le Top's 2011 Spring/Summer "School of Fun" collection.

This is a FIRST for Miranda—and for ME! After spending a lot of hours AND a lot of money on swim lessons, I figured we should put the swim lessons to the test. So I signed her up to be on the local swim team. I thought if you signed up, then you were automatically in. Well… I was wrong. They required a tryout to see if the child can swim across one lap. The pool where Miranda had lessons was half the length. And as far as I knew, the times we swam at friends’ pools or hotel pools, she could swim across, but I didn’t know if they were the same distance as one lap. Plus, it has been almost a year since Miranda had a swim lesson. Yikes! Talk about NERVE-WRACKING!

The reason for swim tryouts wasn’t to see how fast a child can swim or what strokes he/she can do in the water. The tryout was mainly for safety reasons. Children must be able to swim across the pool by themselves without help. So before Miranda’s turn in the water, I asked her how she felt. She was a little nervous but wasn’t afraid. She didn’t feel intimidated at all. “Are you sure? Was the pool in Hawaii this long? What stroke are you going to do? If you get tired half-way, stop and rest. Don’t feel bad.” Then she just looked at me with exasperation as if she just wanted to say, “Cool it, Mom!”

The coach called her name and, naturally, I was more nervous than her. She got in the water, kicked her skinny, long legs all the way across to the other end of the pool doing the freestyle. Then the guide in the water asked her if she wanted to hang on to the life preserver so she can get a “ride” back. She declined and said, “I’ll do the backstroke.” And she did, with perfect arms!

What a proud moment for me! She made the swim team and was so happy to back in the water after such a long, cold winter. Can’t wait for swim practices and swim meets. An exciting and fun summer awaits.

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It’s been a hectic couple of months, so our family (me, my husband, Lilah and my parents) booked a getaway to Mexico to lounge, sightsee, and spend some time together. Though we have traveled with Lilah on a plane before, she was too small to remember or really be part of the process. This was going to be her first adventure to another country!!!

Most airlines have a rule of one checked bag and one carry-on (no liquids, scissors, etc.) so we really had to plan our packing. I felt that Lilah should be able to carry all of her own bags so we got her a nifty rolling suitcase. She already had a small backpack that converts to a rolling bag so we were set. She loved that she had the same set up as all of the adults and looked adorable going through the airport.

Lilah was the only one short enough to go through the Mayan tunnel at the Coba ruins.

The security check turned into a game as to who could get through and get redressed first. Quick Tip: When flying don’t forget to make sure your child has gum, a sippy cup/bottle to suck on or is cooperative enough to try and repressurize their own ears. I remembered this only once we started the decent, so other than some temporary ear pain on 3 of the 4 flights, she passed the airtime with flying colors and was even given a “pair of wings” from the airline.

As you are probably aware, being away from home in a strange environment for a whole week can be stressful to a child. It didn’t matter how much fun she was having, when she was tired all she would say was “Can we go home and see the kitties?” It broke my heart every time. However, within a few days it changed to “Can we go back to the room?” We did our best to create a daily nap time since routines are so important for the little ones, especially when you’re traipsing through Mayan ruins or visiting unfamiliar places.

Pool time was the best since Lilah loves the water! She is comfortable in it, but cannot yet swim without a life vest. Most resorts have swim areas specifically for kids where the depth is shallow. Ours was set up like a beach where it gradually got deeper (no stairs). This enabled all of the adults to take turns playing in the water with her without her drowning us (by holding on to our necks) because six hours straight in the water is more than I can take

Lilah just couldn't get enough of the water. She wore us out while looking stylish in her Le Top Sweetheart Butterfly and Lots o' Fish swimsuits from our Spring 2010 season.

We practiced speaking the native language as much as possible all through our trip and Lilah would regularly skip along a path counting or saying colors she saw in Spanish. Having the grandparents along was a dream since my husband and I were able to get in a couple of excursions on our own. The trip was too short but it was nice to recharge our batteries in a beautiful paradise. I can’t wait to do it again and Lilah is already talking about the next trip. I guess I need to get out the calendar!

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Paulo is wearing a zip hoodie and cargo pants set from rabbitmoon's Imagination collection.

I’m guilty! I am so guilty of not indulging my second child to the same enjoyable things as I did with my first. Miranda had playgroups, play dates, Mommy and Me classes, anything and everything that I could expose her to that would be fun, educational, and give us extra bonding/play time.

I remember someone telling me that having two kids is like having 10. I didn’t believe it! How can one little person make life complicated to the 10th degree? Well, let me tell you… Now that I have two kids, I AM A BELIEVER! I am so busy with the demands of motherhood, Miranda’s school, my freelance work, the housework, the grocery shopping (I have to go every week now because boys eat so much more than girls!) and all the voluntary roles I thought I would have time for (Classroom Mom, Yearbook Committee, Faith Formation Teacher, helping my parents). I’m lucky if I can keep my head above water. Poor Paulo! He gets whatever is left of my hectic schedule.

I jotted down my little guy’s schedule each day of the week:

  • Monday: take Miranda to school, eat, very short nap, pick up Miranda, play
  • Tuesday: take Miranda to school, eat, very short nap, pick up Miranda, play
  • Wednesday : take Miranda to school, eat, longer nap, pick up Miranda, play
  • Thursday: take Miranda to school, SWIM CLASS!!!, eat, longer nap, pick up Miranda, play
  • Friday: take Miranda to school, eat, longer nap, pick up Miranda, play

Pretty boring, huh? At least he has weekly swim classes. But any free time I get, I’m either working, doing chores or running errands just so I can survive the day and actually get to bed at a decent time (midnight would be early for me!) But never mind about me. This is precious Paulo time I’m wasting. So… I’ve decided that I NEED take charge of my schedule and plan recreational activities for my little guy. He shouldn’t be penalized for being Child No. 2. He needs to have his own schedule, his own friends, and make his own memories. This sad little dude rarely sees a playground that when he does see one, he pees his pants in excitement! So I’m bringing back weekly playgroups.

His first play date was with my friend’s daughter. This little girl’s big brother was Miranda’s first playgroup friend and they have been very good friends ever since. (Coincidentally, my friend and I had our two kids roughly at the same time so each of our two kids are about the same age.) We met at a nearby playground to enjoy the fresh air and some outdoor fun, but it started to drizzle. Luckily, there was Toddler Storytime at the museum across the way that was just about to start. PERFECT!

The kids had a good time, AND the moms did as well. We both reminisced about our lives five years ago when we were both new mothers and only had one child each. We talked about how much more relaxed we were back then, how busy our lives have become, and how we missed connecting with each other just to talk about life in general (husbands, in-laws, school, broken appliances, the laundry…). We vowed to have our play dates each week for the sake of our second children AND for the sake of our sanity! What a revelation… I NEED PLAYGROUP, TOO!!! This is going to be a good thing.

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Superstar Lach (pronounced Lock) has been chosen for our Darling of the Day.  We’re told this handsome, sweet, bright boy made all A’s and B’s AND won the Music award for the first grade class this year. Nice job!!  He is also on the local swim team and won several first place ribbons this summer, making his family incredibly proud.

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We are just wild about this photo of 2-year old, Ella and her 8-month old sister, Ari in our zebra monokinis. It seemed a natural fit with us nearing the end of summer. Where did it go???

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