Water Safety with Neva Nicole! | Golden Isles Moms

Summer is here in the Golden Isles which means beach and pool time to beat the Georgia heat! As moms, our goal is to educate our children on water safety and keep them out of harms way while still enjoying the surf and sun. 

We talked with Neva Nicole, a local mom, CPR instructor and swim teacher who promotes water safety and teaches families how to be safe around all types of water. Her Podcast Navigating Neva highlights her tips as well as interviews with others who teach water safety. 

Golden Isles Moms: Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
Neva Nicole: I am a mother to two boys, and three stepdaughters from a. previous marriage so we had a household of seven. Since high school I have worked in aquatics. In 2018, I left it for “a real job“ (full-time for a pharmaceutical wholesaler in Brunswick) but I’ve never left the water! I’ve continued to teach swim lessons on the side. This winter I launched a podcast featuring water safety called Navigating Neva. I am an American red cross instructor since 2005 which also enables me to teach Swim Lessons and lifeguard certifications train other lifeguards and train. I taught myself how to swim when I was seven years old I had a near drowning experience when I was three years old. My aunt pulled me from the water I fell into the pool when we were not intending to go swimming. I talk about both of these on my podcast.
GM: Why is water safety awareness so important?
NN: Water safety awareness is so important for so many reasons. One, we’re surrounded by water our children can drowned at any time. Even if you don’t have a pool, they can drowned in rainwater in your yard, in a mop bucket, in a kiddie pool, or even in the bathtub. We want to teach a respect for water and not a fear for water. We also want people to understand how important it is to always be vigilant and constantly watching your kids around water. To me water is more dangerous than fire. Fire can burn but smoke inhalation is usually what kills us. In water it only takes 2 inches to take your life. 
GIM: What are the top three things families can do to prepare their children for swimming months? 
NN: 1. Acclimate your children to the water. What do I mean? I mean let them take a bath and watch them in the bathtub. Allow them to get their face wet. Encourage them to get their face wet! Fill the tub up enough so that they can lay back and float. All of these things are taught in the beginning swim lessons and if they’ve already learned and mastered them then learning to swim is so much easier! There’s so much that goes on cognitively where you’re learning about the water environment and how water acts and how your body acts in water. It saves you money in the long run if your child is already acclimated. 
2. Get swimming lessons before summer. Summer is not the time to learn how to swim. Summer is the time that you’re swimming you’re at pool parties and you’re at the beach. It’s hot you want to get in the water. You want to learn to swim before summer hits. You can spend time with your kids at a hotel pool, at a community pool, or at the YMCA. You want to give them time swimming. 
3. If you didn’t get Swim Lessons during the spring or before swim season you want to find your instructor now. Find out what you want; do you want groups do you want privates?, Do you need a male instructor do you need a female instructor?, Do you want someone who’s assertive do you want someone who does more indirect teaching?, Do you have a certain time of day a preference?, Do you have a deadline or a goal do you wanna learn to swim before a family trip? 
GIM: What are some tips for staying safe around the pool? Ocean?
NN: Rule number one never swim alone. No solo bathing even if you’re an adult. Which means you need to have a water watcher. Designate someone to watch the children in the water. There are tons of water watcher pledges. Abbey‘s Hope. Pool Safely. I have one on the Podcast. Whoever it is, you want to have them designated. Do not leave children in the water without someone who knows it’s their job to watch the children in the water. Whether this is the bathtub or the pool. 
Next, know about the water. If it’s a pool; is it cold is it warm?, is it shallow is it deep?, Is it a shallow water pool but it’s over the heads of the children? At the beach the same rules apply. Know your body of water; is it cold is it warm?, Is it all shallow?, Does it have a drop?, Is the water murky?, Is there a rip today?, Before we get into a body of water we want to know all about it. We want to know if it’s safe. 
Learn to swim. The best way to be safe in on and around the water is to be comfortable and confident in the water and know how to swim. With basic swimming we can jump into water overhead, we can resurface and make it to the side. If we’re in the ocean or a really big pool like the wave pool at Summer Waves, we want to be able to do this. Swimming is a cardio sport and just like running or bike riding it takes endurance and practice.
Stay hydrated whether you’re outside at the beach or outside of the pool or in the water swimming. You can get overheated and chances are you’re not going to notice it. We want to avoid cramps to be able to swim safely so we need to drink fluids.
GIM: What are your favorite resources (tide schedules, swim floats) for families to keep safe in the water?
NN: I like our tide chart for Glynn County. I’ll look at it to see when high tide and low tide us. I also look at the ocean water temperatures.
I avoid Swim floats however if you’ve got a lot a little ones it’s hard to hold them all at one time so puddle jumpers are nice. However, make sure you’re not using them more than half your swim time. You want to use them and let the kids get comfortable and acclimate in the water but then after half your swim time take it off, put it on another child and spend time with your kids without it on.
Follow Alive Solutions on Facebook. She posts excellent information and shows you things like what kind of bathing suit you should pick. If your Child is at the bottom of the water or we’re looking for your child or trying to find your child a swimsuit color matters what makes it more visible to see them underwater what makes it not. 
American Red Cross Whales Tales is a great resource to watch videos. I love this program and I used to teach it all the time! The videos are free and for about two minutes and 30 seconds you can have your kids watch them in the car on the way to the pool or the beach or to Summer Waves. They also come with coloring sheets do the sheets with your children.

Neva Nicole is a 20+ year aquatic professional. Before launching Navigating Neva, she began her aquatic career prior to college as a lifeguard in 2000 and became the Aquatics Coordinator, then Aquatic Director and Senior Program Director.  Neva Nicole served over 20 years in aquatics between the YMCA of the Treasure Coast and the YMCA of Coastal Georgia and  for the the City of Stuart Parks and Recreation, Glynn County Park and Recreation, American Red Cross, American Heart Association and Glynn County Search and Rescue.

Being a servant leader comes naturally to Neva Nicole through her volunteer efforts in the community.  She  served as a lifeguard in Honduras during Holy Week, she has used her skills during Swim Camp that a locally Baptist Church hosted in place of Vacation Bible School and teaches the cubs scouts CPR.  Currently she is the owner of Brunswick CPR Lady you can find her teaching swimming lessons in the summer and CPR throughout the year.

In her spare time she is raising two teenage sons.

Neva Nicole’s goal is to help us avoid a drowning tragedy and to teach us to love the water as she does.


Follow her on Facebook and contact her for swim lesson availability.


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