Swim Lessons: When to Start & What Parents Should Know

Every family should make learning to swim a top priority. It’s a crucial life skill that can help reduce the risk of drowning, which is the leading cause of mortality for kids. Learning to swim is essential for both parents and kids to ensure that time spent in the water is enjoyable and safe.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers the following advice on when to begin swimming lessons and what to look for in a high-quality learn-to-swim program.

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When should my kid start swimming lessons?

Since every child develops at a different rate, not every child is ready to start swim lessons at the same age. Consider your child’s comfort level in the water, physical and developmental restrictions, and emotional maturity while selecting your choice.

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises swim training as an additional line of defense against drowning, which many kids can start as early as age 1.

Parent-child swim lessons for toddlers and preschoolers: helpful for lots of families

According to recent research, teaching kids between the ages of one and four how to survive in the water and taking swim classes can help lower their chance of drowning. Classes that include parents and their kids are an excellent method to start teaching kids about water safety and develop their swimming abilities. It would be wise to begin lessons right away if your youngster appears ready.

Swim lessons are essential for most families for kids ages 4 and above.

Most kids are prepared for swim lessons by the time they become 4 years old. They can often pick up the fundamentals of water survival at this age, such floating, treading water, and finding an escape route. Most kids taking swim lessons can perform the front crawl by the time they are 5 or 6 years old. The moment has come if your youngster hasn’t enrolled in a swim lesson yet!

Does the AAP suggest baby swimming lessons?

No, because there isn’t any proof right now that baby swim lessons reduce the risk of drowning for infants under a year old. At this age, infants may exhibit reflexive “swimming” motions, but they are still unable to lift their heads sufficiently out of the water to breathe. However, if you want to assist your baby get acclimated to the pool, it’s OK to sign up for a parent-child water play session. It may be a great activity to do together.

Recall that learning to swim does not make a child “drown proof.”

Never forget that learning to swim is only one of several crucial layers of protection required to assist prevent drowning. Constant, concentrated supervision of your child when they are in or around a pool or any other body of water constitutes another layer. Blocking access to pools during non-swim hours is also crucial. According to data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 69% of children less than five were not anticipated to be in the water when they drowned.

When selecting swim classes, what should I consider?

Seek out programs and teachers who adhere to rules emphasizing water survival competence abilities in addition to swim stroke technique. For example, all children should be taught how to emerge from the water, swim at least 25 yards, and get back to the surface. Children’s development should be assessed, and teachers should continuously provide feedback on students’ ability levels.

For kids of all ages, seek for initiatives that:

possess knowledgeable, experienced teachers. A nationally approved learn-to-swim program should be used for the training and certification of swim instructors. Additionally, there must to be lifeguards on duty with up-to-date First Aid and CPR certifications.

Encourage safe behavior around, in, and on the water. Kids should never learn to swim alone by an adult or on their own. Teachers should instill in their students the habit of always requesting permission from parents, lifeguards, or swimming instructors before entering a pool or other natural body of water, such as a lake.

Explain what to do in case they unintentionally find themselves in the water. Practicing water proficiency abilities like self-rescue is part of this. Training under a range of realistic scenarios, such as falling in and swimming while clothed, should be included in lessons. Elderly kids should also be taught how to obtain help and what to do if they observe someone else in the water who is having trouble.

To determine if a class is appropriate for your child, allow you to observe it beforehand. Not all swim classes are made equal, so parents should research their options and select the one that best suits their needs. Do they spend most of their time swimming, or do they occasionally stand still while they wait their turn? Do children get one-on-one attention? Are the teachers approachable and well-informed?

need to be done in several sessions. Once children start lessons, you should be able to see gradual but consistent progress in their abilities over time. Continue lessons at least until your they master basic water competency skills.

In addition, for children under age 4, look for programs that:

Ensure the environment is age-appropriate. Your child should feel safe and secure during lessons, with activities that support their social, intellectual, physical, and emotional development. However, children need to develop a healthy respect for water, as well.

Include “touch supervision.” Whenever infants and toddlers are in or around water—even during swim lessons―an adult should be within arm’s reach to provide “touch supervision.” Parent participation should be encouraged, especially since it also helps families know what to practice in between classes. If you can’t be in the water with your child, look for private classes that offer 1-on-1 instruction.

Maintain water purity. Young children are more likely to swallow or breathe in water, so water disinfection and maintaining proper chlorine levels is really important. A good program should also require the child to wear a swimsuit that is snug-fitting at the legs to help avoid spreading body waste into the water.

Keep the water warm. Hypothermia is a greater risk at this age. Ideally, swim and water safety classes for children age 3 and younger should be in water heated to 87 to 94 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the cost of swim lessons is a concern

If you’re worried your family can’t afford swim lessons, check with your city government. Many towns have scholarship programs that help cover the cost of swim lessons held at public pools. Reach out to qualified instructors about possible payment plans or scholarship options.