Every family should place a high premium on learning to swim. It’s a crucial life skill that can assist to significantly reduce drowning—the leading cause of mortality among youngsters. To keep time in the water safe and enjoyable, kids and their parents should both learn to swim.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has provided some advice on when to start swimming lessons and what to look for in a good learn-to-swim program.
When should my kid start swimming lessons?
Not every child is prepared to start swimming lessons at the same age since children develop at various rates. Consider your child’s emotional maturity, physical and developmental capabilities and limitations, as well as their comfort level in the water, while selecting your choice.
The Swimjourney AAP advises swim lessons as an additional layer of defense against drowning, which can start for many kids as early as age 1.
Parent-child toddler and preschool swimming lessons are advantageous for many households.
Recent research suggests that swim lessons and training in water survival techniques can help lower the risk of drowning in kids between the ages of 1-4. A great method to instill proper water safety practices and begin developing swim readiness abilities are classes that include both parents and their kids. Lessons should begin right away if your youngster appears to be ready.
For most families, swim lessons for kids ages 4 and older are a must.
The majority of kids are prepared for swim lessons by the time they turn four. They can typically pick up fundamental water survival abilities at this age, like floating, treading water, and reaching an exit. Most kids taking swim lessons by age 5 or 6 have mastered the front crawl. Now is the time to enroll your youngster in a learn-to-swim program if they haven’t previously.
Does the AAP suggest newborn swim lessons?
No, there is currently no proof that infant swim programs reduce the risk of drowning in infants under the age of one. At this age, infants may exhibit reflex “swimming” motions, but they are unable to lift their heads out of the water far enough to breathe. It’s acceptable to sign up for a parent-child water play session to ease your baby into the water, as this may be an enjoyable activity to do together.
Keep in mind that learning to swim does not make a child “drown proof.”
Never forget that learning to swim is simply one of several crucial safeguards required to help prevent drowning. When your child is in or near a pool or other body of water, you should always keep a close eye on them. Access to swimming pools must be restricted when people are not using them.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 69% of children under the age of five were not anticipated to be in the water when a drowning occurred.
What qualities should I consider when selecting swim lessons?
Look for programs and instructors who adhere to standards that emphasize water survival competency skills more broadly than just swim stroke technique. For instance, all kids should learn how to exit the water, propel themselves at least 25 yards, and come back to the surface from underwater. Children’s development should be assessed, and teachers should continuously provide feedback on students’ skill levels.
For kids of all ages, seek out initiatives that:
- have knowledgeable, competent educators. A nationally regarded learn-to-swim program should be used to train and certify swim teachers. Additionally, there have to be CPR and First Aid certified lifeguards on duty.
Teach good water-related safety practices. Children should learn to swim under adult supervision and never by themselves. When entering a pool or other body of water, including a lake, children should always ask their parents, lifeguards, or swimming instructors for permission.
Teach them what to do if they find themselves in the water by accident. This involves working on water competency abilities like self-rescue. Lessons should simulate a range of real-world scenarios, such as falling in and swimming while wearing clothes. Older kids should learn what to do and how to get help if they observe someone else suffering in the water.
Allow you to observe a class beforehand to determine whether it is appropriate for your child. Lessons in swimming are not all made equal, so parents should compare their alternatives to find the greatest fit. Do they spend the most of their time swimming or do they wait for their turn for extended periods of time? Do you give your kids one-on-one time? Are the instructors welcoming and well-informed?
Many sessions are necessary. Once children begin lessons, you should be able to observe over time a steady but constant improvement in their skills. Continue teaching at least until they are proficient in the fundamentals of water safety.
Additionally, for kids under the age of 4, seek out initiatives that:
- Make the environment age-appropriate. With activities that assist their social, intellectual, physical, and emotional development, your child should feel safe and secure during sessions. But kids also need to learn to respect water in a healthy way.
“Touch supervision” is included. Even during swimming classes, an adult should always be within arm’s reach to provide “touch supervision” whenever infants and toddlers are in or near water. It is important to encourage parent involvement since it gives families ideas for practice sessions in between lessons. Look for private sessions that provide one-on-one teaching if you are unable to be in the water with your child.
Keep the water pure. Since young children are more prone to ingest or breathe in water, it’s crucial to keep chlorine levels in check and disinfect the water supply. To help prevent spreading waste into the water, an effective program should also mandate that the youngster wear a swimsuit that fits tightly at the legs.
Warm the water up. At this age, hypothermia is more likely to occur. Children 3 and younger should ideally take swim and water safety lessons in water that is heated to 87 to 94 degrees Fahrenheit.
When swimming lessons are expensive:
Consult your city government if you’re concerned that your family won’t be able to pay swimming lessons. Swim lessons taught at public pools are often covered by scholarship programs in many municipalities. Ask capable professors about possible payment schedules or scholarship opportunities.
How to keep an eye on your kid near or in the water:
One of the most crucial ways to help avoid drowning is by proper supervision in the water, especially if your child is still learning to swim. Drowning occurs more frequently than most families realize, is silent, and happens quickly. Children that have caring, attentive parents and caregivers experience it every day.
When supervising your child during swim time, bear in mind the following:
Pay close attention and don’t let up. Even if lifeguards are present, avoid being sidetracked by other activities (such as reading, playing games, using a telephone, or mowing the lawn).
Avoid drinking or taking drugs near the water, especially if you are in charge of others.
Get in the water with tiny children and others who are not strong swimmers. The importance of “touch supervision” Keep kids within reach at all times, even if you aren’t swimming but there is a pool or body of water nearby. If you must go, bring the kid along.
Never entrust a baby or young child to another youngster’s care when they are in or near a body of water.
Assign a “water watcher” whose responsibility it is to always keep an eye on the child in or near the water, especially during parties or picnics at the lake or pool when it is simple to get sidetracked. Pass a water watcher card to the following responsible adult after a predetermined amount of time by taking turns (such as 15 minutes).
Keep in mind that unexpected, unattended entry to water is the main cause of drowning in toddlers between the ages of 1-4. Children are inherently interested and frequently leave the area unobserved while swimming is not taking place.
When in, on, or close to natural bodies of water, such as lakes or rivers, always wear a life jacket. Check to see if the U.S. Coast Guard has approved them and that they fit properly. Children. When at a pool or water park, people who can’t swim should also wear life jackets.
Know how to react when there is problems and how to spot indicators of distress. To respond to a drowning occurrence, everyone—including parents, caregivers, and older kids—should learn CPR and safe rescue practices. Safety on the water is a family affair!
One of the crucial steps to help prevent drowning is to enroll your child in high-quality swim lessons as soon as they are prepared for them. If you have any concerns about whether your child is developmentally prepared for swim lessons or how to find a reputable program for your family, speak with your pediatrician.