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Babies are sponges
October 3, 2007 4:27 PM   Subscribe

You can teach your mini-me all kinds of wonderful things. Among them to settle themselves to sleep, to use american sign language or be physically superb. Now, you can teach them to save themselves from accidentaly drowning in the pool (flash vid).
posted by edmz (63 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
How about we teach parents not to be stupid about their pools and their kids? After all, it makes more sense to take the bullets out of the gun than to wear a bullet-proof vest.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:38 PM on October 3, 2007


especially while swimming
posted by hal9k at 4:41 PM on October 3, 2007 [3 favorites]


Speaking as a father of two, I have to say that I motherfucking. hate. it. when. parents. call. their. kids. "mini-me". Chldren are not clones or property; they are individuals.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:43 PM on October 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


Speaking as the father of none, I I have to say that I motherfucking. hate. it. when. parents. call. their. kids. "mini-me". It has nothing to do with children not being clones or property, and everything to do with "mini-me" being an incredibly irritating term that should have been be smothered in its crib.
posted by dersins at 4:47 PM on October 3, 2007


I can't watch that video - it's making my stomach churn in vicarious fear - ug.
posted by tristeza at 4:47 PM on October 3, 2007


Speaking as a father of two I couldn't care less if folks call their kids mini-me, it's just a bit of fun, relax.

Secondly did they really need to leave that poor little guy floating for minutes to sell their course? I mean I get it, he can float, now go get him.

Thirdly, that's pretty cool.

Fourthly, um, I got nothing, just wanted to say fourthly.
posted by zeoslap at 4:50 PM on October 3, 2007


Fifthly, I meant to say, for five minutes. I mean come on.
posted by zeoslap at 4:51 PM on October 3, 2007


If there were only the one gun in the house (or in this case the one pool in the yard), yes that would make more sense.

Realistically it's probably a lot easier to teach kids not to drown than to try and fence of every body of water they might get near when you're not right there watching them.

And to complete the square of analogies, if there is lots of small arms fire where you live, maybe you should skip the bullet proof vest and just.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:52 PM on October 3, 2007


er, and just move.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:52 PM on October 3, 2007


Did someone push that baby into the pool? Now, that's effective directing.
posted by chipsotoole at 4:54 PM on October 3, 2007


After all, it makes more sense to take the bullets out of the gun than to wear a bullet-proof vest.

So you're saying its better to disarm the effectiveness of the pool (by teaching kids how to survive) than wearing a vest (protecting the pool with fences and whatnot)

Doesnt that contradict what you said or are you just really bad at analogies?
posted by vacapinta at 4:57 PM on October 3, 2007


That video freaked me the hell out.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:58 PM on October 3, 2007


I think the gun is drowning, the bullets are negative fences (so by removing them, you're actually adding them), and the vest is knowledge. So, in this analogy, pools are... the shooter's trigger finger.

My head hurts now.
posted by CKmtl at 5:01 PM on October 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Speaking as the mother of none, jesus that's a hard video to watch. SOMEONE GET THE KID OUT OF THE DAMN POOL.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 5:01 PM on October 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think it's great that kid can float for 5+ minutes (after being pushed into the pool, btw), but to me that starts to border on torment. Poor little guy.
posted by itchylick at 5:02 PM on October 3, 2007


So you're saying its better to disarm the effectiveness of the pool (by teaching kids how to survive) than wearing a vest (protecting the pool with fences and whatnot)

No, it's better to proactively prevent a bad situation from occurring in the first place and secure the pool (take the bullets out of the gun) than to attempt to teach after-the-fact defensive measures that may or may not work (wear the bulletproof vest).

Doesnt that contradict what you said or are you just really bad at analogies?

Or are you just really bad at reading comprehension? Zing!

Realistically it's probably a lot easier to teach kids not to drown than to try and fence of every body of water they might get near when you're not right there watching them.

Sorry, I have to degree with your description of "realistically" there. It's much, much easier to secure pools and access to pools than to comprehensively teach these techniques and expect them to work.

Besides, what happens if the kids falls into the water and bangs their head and gets knocked out? What's the plan then?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:04 PM on October 3, 2007


Because, you know, you can either teach your kids to swim or restrict access to pools, but not both.
posted by ursus_comiter at 5:10 PM on October 3, 2007


Jeez, I couldn't watch after the kid fell in.

As a parent of two and a pool owner, I say bleh - infant swimming lessons are no match for a watchful eye. Our pool is accessible via the deck (from the house). When the kids were young, we had a gate installed from the deck to the pool area. With a lock. No accidents. Honestly, even if my kids did know how to swim as young toddlers, I would never have used that as a first, second, or any defense against accidentally falling into the pool.
posted by Flakypastry at 5:11 PM on October 3, 2007


How about we teach parents not to be stupid about their pools and their kids? After all, it makes more sense to take the bullets out of the gun than to wear a bullet-proof vest.

As a parent of two, I can say this: we don't have a pool, and we went out of our way to avoid buying a house with a pool (in SoCal) no matter how tempting it was, or how well-priced.

But you know what? My neighbors have pools, and sometimes we go visit, and not all of them are well-gated. Besides, the best solution is twofold: keep the pools away (or gated) AND teach your kids how to swim.

I mean, even if you're never near a pool except under direct, responsible supervision, this is cool because you can go to the pool with your young kids and all swim together -- teaching kids to float like this and swim a bit is fun for the whole family.

At the end of the day, are you better off getting rid of the gun altogether, or getting rid of the gun AND teaching your kids about guns to reduce the risk of injury if they find themselves near a gun without you knowing it?

This is awesome, and I want to do this for my two-year-olds.

Besides, what happens if the kids falls into the water and bangs their head and gets knocked out? What's the plan then?

Don't confuse risk reduction with risk prevention. There are no perfect solutions, but I'm thrilled to have options that significantly improve the odds...and in this case, make my kids happier and more comfortable around water when they encounter it.
posted by davejay at 5:14 PM on October 3, 2007


Oh, and on the ASL: yeah, this one's easy. Kids are capable of using words before their mouths and throats are up to the task; simply teaching our kids to sign "more" when they wanted more dinner made feeding them unbelievably easy when they were younger.

Similarly, push to teach your kids single words, like "Pain." My wife thought I was a bit off, but one day when one of my kids hurt themselves, I pointed to the injury and repeated "Pain" several times. as future (inevitable) injuries occurred, I repeated this with both kids, and quickly they could answer the question "are you in pain?" with a quick head shake, or a nod (followed by pointing to the pain when I asked "where is your pain? show daddy your pain.") Again, this made diagnosing stomachaches and sinus infections much easier.
posted by davejay at 5:18 PM on October 3, 2007


You guys are all a little bit crazy. Seriously.

Would you allow your child to visit a friend's house if you knew the owner of the house left a loaded gun lying on the kitchen table? Probably not, right?

But would you allow your child to visit a friend's house if you knew they had a pool in the backyard? Sounds like fun, right?

But guns are safer than swimming pools.

A child is 100 times more likely to die in a swimming accident than in gunplay, writes Steven D. Levitt, University of Chicago economics professor and best-selling author.

Levitt analyzed child deaths from residential swimming pools and guns and found one child under 10 drowns annually for every 11,000 pools. By comparison, one child under 10 each year is killed by a gun for every 1 million guns.

posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:23 PM on October 3, 2007


OK, I'm embrassed. Figure he's a boy (blue), they learn to walk a bit later (month, maybe), he's just getting the hang of it good. That kid is maybe 14 months old and he can swim (OK, float) better than I can. (Yeah, it bothered me to watch the kid out there too. Go get him, already; I don't care how much they paid you.)

My daughter the nurse taught the RugRat sign language starting at 6 months. He was good at it. Beter than actual speech, as it turned out (bad delivery), and for years while he learned to "talk plain", we got most of our info from the kid via sign language. He was taught to do speech with ASL while he practiced, but if he had not known sign, we'd never have known what he wanted. That whole thing was new when we did it, but I encourage it to anyone with babies. Even assuming your kid doesn't have speech problems, it gives them the opportunity to express themselves well before their speech skills kick in. It just proves what I've said all along, there's a person in there, who has strong opinions long before they have the speech skills to express them.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 5:30 PM on October 3, 2007


Speaking as a father of two whose 2-year-old jumped into a friend's pool and sank like stone this summer -- while I was less than two feet away in the water and thank God could get to him before he had a chance to breathe (he thought it was hysterical) -- I have to agree that the video is unwatchable. Whatever they are selling, I don't want any. Teach my kids to swim? Absolutely. No question about it -- doing it right now. Leave them floating around crying for five minutes so I can post it on the Internet to sell my fucking swim class? Fuck no. Call child protective services.
posted by The Bellman at 5:32 PM on October 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


WOW, there's some angst in these here comments. I came in here to say that I, for one, was delighted by the idea of going "Here is my miniature person: he is physically superb."

I'll just slink away, though.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 5:35 PM on October 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Your whole gun-pool analogy isn't doing much good. Someone can't accidentally or intentionally fling a pool at an unsuspecting kid at several hundred meters per second. You can't go around to other people's houses and unload their guns, nor can you slap up a fence around their pool.

Fences around pools are a good thing, but they don't always work. Kids climb, kids open latches. People forget to latch, older kids open the latch while parents aren't around.

What good does a faulty fence do when the kid's already fallen in the pool and doesn't know how to swim?
posted by CKmtl at 5:37 PM on October 3, 2007


Beter/Better
More coffee (I did check; I goofed.)
posted by unrepentanthippie at 5:38 PM on October 3, 2007


Child protective services? Come on. That was awesome. I'd much rather watch a kid do that than hear about some little bugger drowning. Also, it was probably about 15 seconds and they jsut said it was 5 minutes. Or, they went out for smokes and then came back and he was still floatin' around after two hours.
posted by jimmythefish at 5:39 PM on October 3, 2007


Okay, I retract my glibness. THE BABY. HE WAS CRYING FOR DADA.

Why wasn't Dada coming to get him out of the water?!? Just how big of a jerk IS Dada? Now I'm all tense. Thanks, guys.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 5:39 PM on October 3, 2007


You're missing the point, CKmtl. Cool Papa Bell is obviously reminding us all -- as usual -- that, along with teaching our kids to swim, we should be teaching them to dodge bullets.
posted by The Bellman at 5:41 PM on October 3, 2007


The pool video choked me up good.

-and I do hope it wasn't really 5 minutes just for the video, but I assume in the training they learn to go for that long.
posted by MtDewd at 5:46 PM on October 3, 2007


Pools don't kill babies, parents who let their toddlers float around in the pool for five freakin' minutes do.
posted by bonehead at 5:47 PM on October 3, 2007


Someone can't accidentally or intentionally fling a pool at an unsuspecting kid at several hundred meters per second.

That's what people used to tell me, but I practiced the whole summer, and now they fear me.
posted by martinrebas at 5:52 PM on October 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Levitt analyzed child deaths from residential swimming pools and guns and found one child under 10 drowns annually for every 11,000 pools. By comparison, one child under 10 each year is killed by a gun for every 1 million guns.

Using similar statistical technique I can show that hardly anyone ever drowns because an Olympic sided swimming pool contains two trillion times more water than a .45 bullet does lead. Or that Jack the Ripper killed more people than HIV and Smallpox together.

At some point it's more honest to just make shit up.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:03 PM on October 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


Not having looked at any of the above links....

We taught our boy sign language before he could talk - and before he could say much more than "dada" and "mama" he already had a vocabulary of 35 signs. He could tell us when he wanted water, wanted to nurse, when he needed to pee, when he was hungry....The list goes on. I can't recommend it enough: Just learn a few basic signs and do them while doing the associated actions, and it makes your life *vastly* easier. And it's pretty damn amazing to watch.
posted by Floach at 6:04 PM on October 3, 2007


The YMCA has been teaching Water Babies classes for years. I knew how to swim before I could walk thanks to them and my mother, who swam competitively in her youth.

As a mother of none, I just really freaked out my dog with that crying baby video.
posted by Brittanie at 6:07 PM on October 3, 2007


I wonder how many kids they had to go through before they found one that could float.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:12 PM on October 3, 2007 [9 favorites]


Leaving a baby floating and crying in a pool for five minutes helps them develop their usage of four-letter words early in life.
posted by katillathehun at 6:12 PM on October 3, 2007


Not having looked at the links this has convinced me the importance of teaching the kids sign language. We'll start with "Thank you, but that's plenty". Followed by "Help. I'm drowning".
posted by hal9k at 6:23 PM on October 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


That "settle themselves to sleep" link is crap.
posted by gleuschk at 6:26 PM on October 3, 2007


Was it just me, or did the kid not start crying until after five minutes in the pool?

I think it is quite possible that kid liked being in the pool, you know. When I was young I loved being in the water. And this infant swimming thing looks fucking fantastic. I too got that pang of fear when the kid fell in--watching him turn himself over and float better than most adults can? It's amazing! Jesus! I would totally do this with my kids!

People getting upset--if this is possible, why wouldn't you do it? Yes, you can keep your child away from pools, but is that how you're going to raise them? To try to shield them from dangerous things and hope that you can mother-hen them until they die, or try to shield them but teach them the skills and knowledge they need to survive if in a dangerous situation?
posted by schroedinger at 6:33 PM on October 3, 2007


I have 1 girl - 18 months. Watching that video was too painful for me so I only got halfway.

When she goes in the pool she sinks like a rock.

Having your kid settle themselves to sleep CAN be a good thing - but if you follow those instructions then your kid is in a routine in their own bedroom - any time you go anywhere else (hotel, camping) then it is a nightmare.

Anyway - as with all things, different solutions for different people!
posted by aurigus at 6:49 PM on October 3, 2007


... we should be teaching them to dodge bullets.

Teaching infants the dark and secret ninja arts would be a terrible mistake; a deadly pubescent nightmare in the making.
posted by CKmtl at 7:05 PM on October 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


You guys need to gain weight or have more fatties as kids. As a "husky" youth I had very little trouble doing a back float. (Oil and water sort of thing, oil provided courtesy Lays potato chips and Hostess Ding Dongs.)
posted by maxwelton at 7:07 PM on October 3, 2007


Aren't babies born knowing how to swim?

Infant swimming lessons sounds entirely reasonable; the mother could be involved and use it to lose some of the pregnancy weight.

I'd give those people money if they showed the video of them tossing the kid into the pool. I was just waiting to see some guy walk across the screen and boot the baby into the water.
posted by porpoise at 7:14 PM on October 3, 2007


Metafilter: the gun is drowning
posted by Avenger at 8:01 PM on October 3, 2007


A child is 100 times more likely to die in a swimming accident than in gunplay

Wow. And I thought research ethics committees were cracking down.
posted by dreamsign at 8:11 PM on October 3, 2007


What the bloody bleeding FUCK? Let's film and do close-ups of a baby floating upward in a pool crying his eyes out! That will prove we should be entrusted with ensuring child safety!
posted by WCityMike at 8:52 PM on October 3, 2007


Wow, I'm torn between GO SUPERBABY!!! and Christ, that was excruciating watching him run up to the pool.

I think Dad was probably with the superbaby for the 5 minute interval and just waded out of the frame - and superbaby's peripheral vision - prompting the squalling.

Tenuously related: My 1 7/8 yo niece got up on the big-girl toilet and made potty all by herself today!
There's a floater joke in there somewhere.

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:55 PM on October 3, 2007


The best program out there for teaching sign to your child is by Joseph Garcia.
posted by RenMan at 8:58 PM on October 3, 2007


As a person who now spends somewhere around 20 to 30 hours a week - about 10% of my life - not drowning in the water of the ocean, I was impressed that some people take the time to teach a baby to stay alive and be okay in a pool by itself for five minutes, and maybe more if necessary.

I agree. Wow. It sure is hard to watch. Five minutes and the live baby gets cranky. But the live baby is getting cranky...

...hmmm...

...you know, when it comes down to it, I think I'd rather be a stupid human who taught my baby to float and stay alive for some time then a smart human who didn't.

Being afraid to address the reality of the importance of children learning to swim reminds me of how sailors once refused to learn to swim for fear that learning to swim implied one expected the ship to go down.

The famed gold-wielding wreck of the Atocha
here off of Key West? Of the 265 passengers, only five survivors, one seaman, two slaves, and two ships' boys...who knew something most everyone else did not:

How to swim.
posted by humannaire at 9:47 PM on October 3, 2007


Anyone (in the UK) interesting in getting their child swimming at a very early age should check out Water Babies - slightly macabre choice of name, but there you go...

My son is 15 months old now and he's been swimming for most of that time. He enjoys it, it's setting him up for an active and healthy childhood, and it's reassuring to know that if, despite all our care and attention, he should fall into water, he's not likely to panic and drown. They've taught him to swim underwater, how to swim towards the side and hold on, how to float on his back. And they even did a couple of underwater photo shoots - the pictures are amazing.

As for the 5 minutes that child was in the water, if it's going to help teach a baby to survive long enough for his distracted parents to think "hey, where's my kid got to?", it's worth a short period of minor discomfort. My son gets more distressed that that if I offer him the wrong flavour yoghurt...
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:50 AM on October 4, 2007


What bea said. Besides, all the people trying to keep their kids out of the water are the source of grownups who fear the water forever: the sooner they go in, the less likely kids are to be afraid; the less tense they are, the easier it is to learn how to swim; the easier it is to swim the safer you are. So contribute to the future: drop a baby in a pool today.
posted by dame at 5:51 AM on October 4, 2007


Jeepers - I'd almost rather watch "tub girl" again than view crying water baby for one more minute. Incredibly distressing.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 6:08 AM on October 4, 2007


Aren't babies born knowing how to swim?

We actually mentioned this briefly in another thread; I asserted that I thought all animals could swim, and that only humans had to be taught. I was corrected; apparently most large primates, including humans, can't instinctively swim.
posted by Malor at 6:18 AM on October 4, 2007


Wow. I'm amazed.
posted by agregoli at 7:20 AM on October 4, 2007


Avi: Why do they call him the Bullet-Dodger?
Bullet Tooth Tony: 'Cause he dodges bullets, Avi.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:57 AM on October 4, 2007


Crucially, though, only when the bullets are aimed at Bullet Tooth Tony. If you shoot randomly, you'll hit him.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:59 AM on October 4, 2007


Er, “aimed at Bullet-Dodger”.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:00 AM on October 4, 2007


My kids associate their bedrooms with sleeping, swim like pikes, can sign, are physically fit, know gun safety, I don’t have a pool (purposefully) and I do have a gun safe (in a locked room).

...so why aren’t I published? Oh, yeah, ‘cause I’m not a heartless bastard who would leave a crying child alone in the water for a promo. Check.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:36 AM on October 4, 2007


When I was a toddler my mother took me to an infant swimming class (not an invention of the Nineties or Oughties; this was decades ago) and likes to recall that I sank like a stone because i was a skinny kid.
posted by bad grammar at 6:10 PM on October 4, 2007


Did anybody bother to make it to the end of the pool video?

The father comes in from off-screen, picks up the baby, who immediately breaks into a huge smile.
posted by syzygy at 11:29 AM on October 5, 2007


I really didn't see this as heartless. People leave their screaming children for much longer while taking a shower, etc. I was frankly surprised by some of the reactions as if this is child abuse.
posted by agregoli at 11:55 AM on October 5, 2007


Same here, agregoli. And after watching the video, I sent it to two friends who have babies who - for obvious reasons - can swim, and they thought it was great.
posted by humannaire at 8:14 PM on October 5, 2007


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