What you should know about swimming lessons for children and water safety
Sun, fun, pool parties and beach days are just around the corner. That means it’s time to talk about swimming lessons for children.
Water safety and swimming skills are critical for kids. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “For children ages 1-14, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death.” This statistic shows how important it is to teach children about swimming and water safety. Our Plano pediatricians are here to help you understand when your child should begin swim lessons and why they are so important.
When is the best time for swimming lessons for children?
You may have seen ads for infant swimming lessons. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend these classes. It’s fine to have fun with your baby in the water, but swimming classes for babies are not effective. That’s because infants don’t have the ability to raise their heads up out of the water to breathe.
The AAP recommends that parents wait until age one to put their children in swimming classes that get them used to the water and build the skills that will prepare them to learn to swim around age four.
By the age of four, most children are ready for swimming lessons. They can learn to float, tread water and get themselves to a point where they can get out of the water. By the age of five or six, many are ready to master the front crawl stroke.
What makes a good swimming and water safety class?
To ensure that your child is enrolled in a safe learning environment, look for the following characteristics in swimming lessons for children.
- Look for certified instructors who are trained by a nationally recognized organization such as the Red Cross. There should be at least one lifeguard on duty at the pool who is up-to-date and certified in CPR and first aid.
- The instructors should provide feedback and evaluation.
- Children should learn water safety, including rules for swimming in pools and other bodies of water. They should also learn skills, such as how to get themselves to the surface from underwater and how to swim or propel themselves at least 25 yards so that they can find an exit point from the water.
Our Plano pediatricians welcome parent questions about safety and swimming lessons for children. Contact us for an appointment.