When it comes to celebrities, us “common folk” can find ourselves watching their every move. What kind of latte does he drink? What is she wearing? What workouts does he do? What age did they put their babies in swim lessons? Wait. Swim lessons? Okay, maybe that’s not the first thing stargazers look for in the latest copy of Vogue, but when that star is the most decorated Olympic swimmer in history, well, inquiring minds want to know.
Michael Phelps knows more than anyone about the ways of the water, how to speed through it and how to remain safe in and around it. Now a father of two (almost three!), Michael sees the water through a different lens – that of a protective father to sons Boomer and Beckett.
He recently told POPSUGAR, “As a dad with two kids, now our pool fence is something that is so key, because we have two little boys who have zero fear in the water. They both know how to swim, but we also know how fast [drowning] can happen.”
According to the CDC, drowning is the #1 cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 1-4, and Michael is well aware. “Nobody knows or realizes or thinks about it until they’ve lost a son or a daughter or somebody else has,” he said. “We have to think about that more, because it’s something that can happen so fast. The only reason why I ever swam or I was ever in the water was for water safety.”
But how old were the boys when Michael introduced them to the water? “Boomer was in the water at what, 3 months? Four months? Beck’s in the water same time. It’s something that’s just so important as a parent. You just never know when they’re going to be around some body of water, especially an ocean, too. That’s something that’s completely different. It’s a completely different animal out there, and nobody really gives it the credit it deserves.”
While teaching his boys to swim – and swim well – will certainly be in Michael’s bag of parenting tricks, there are a few other layers that the swimming star uses for water safety. “I just think the importance of having a pool fence, keeping kids away from drains, making sure there’s always an adult out there, and eyes on them at all times. Being in Arizona, almost everybody has a pool. There are so many kids who are still drowning. It’s just trying to get a kid comfortable in the water more than anything else.”
At Aqua-Tots Swim Schools, we believe that introducing children to the water as early as 4 months old is the first layer of protection to keep them safe in and around the water for a lifetime. And while you may not have Olympic gold hanging around your neck, you’re the superstar parent to your little ones, and no one cares about their safety more than you do!