Swimming lessons are a long-standing rite of childhood. Children who can swim have lots of opportunities for fun during the summer. As they build their skills, they will become confident in the water and enjoy themselves even more. Since swimming is such an important skill, many parents wonder when they should begin swimming lessons.
Many organizations offer Mommy and Me classes for babies. These classes can help babies become comfortable in the swimming pool, although they don’t learn a lot of applicable skills. Children are not capable of swimming when they are under the age of one. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children begin swimming lessons between the ages of one and four.
Research has shown that younger children who take swimming lessons are less likely to drown. Children can learn very basic skills like rolling over and floating that dramatically increase their safety. They’ll also learn to yell for help if they are overwhelmed in the swimming pool.
Some children are ready for swimming lessons earlier than others. Children with developmental disabilities will probably take a longer time-frame to learn to swim. Other children are afraid of the water. In these cases, a gentle, slow approach will help the child get used to the water. Generally, however, children should start swimming lessons as soon as they are ready after the age of one. This will give them time to become strong swimmers while they are young.
Even when children are strong swimmers, they should never be left unsupervised in the swimming pool. A good swimmer is not immune to accidents. Children sometimes roughhouse in pools or get far away from guardians and this can lead to accidents.
The best way to keep children safe in swimming pools is to take several approaches at once. First, keep the child active in swimming lessons. Use safety equipment such as U.S. Coast Guard approved life vests. The U.S. Coast Guard also recommends a variety of inflatable devices for swimming pools. Always have an appropriate number of adults near children in the swimming pool. The adults should be strong swimmers. Learn revival techniques like CPR and have plenty of safety equipment around the pool.
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