When Should Children Learn To Swim?

Children SwimmingChildren love nothing better than spending summer days in swimming pools.  But the importance of pool safety cannot be emphasized enough. Sad statistics show that 1100 children under age 20 died from drowning in 2006.  And for every one of these children, three or four more received emergency care for near-drowning accidents and other submersion injuries, including brain damage.  Even scarier is that most drownings occur in the home pool of the child, and most of the drownings occurred when the children were left unsupervised for less than 5 minutes.

Some of these statistics can be prevented by enrolling your children in swimming lessons from an early age.  This means that if they fall into the pool or a similar accident occurs, they will not panic and will be able to swim to safety without any problems.

When can my child start swimming lessons?

These days, infant and toddler swimming lessons are becoming increasingly popular, with kids as young as a year old starting aquatic programs.  Although this is a good way to teach young children to feel comfortable in the water (and also teach parents about water safety), these lessons do not make them exempt from drowning. At a young age, it is still crucial that young children are always supervised in the pool, particularly since drowning rates are highest in children ages 1 to 2.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children are developmentally ready for formal swimming lessons at age 4.   At this age, they can learn more about proper swimming strokes and can internalize and understand more pool safety tips.

The pool is there to have fun in, but dont forget to keep safe while you swim. Here are some other tips to keep you and your family swimming safely.

Use protective swimming pool covers and fencing when you are not supervising swimming.  These will prevent kids from falling in the water.

Install a pool alarm to alert you if something weighing more than 5kgs falls in the water.

Instruct your children to wear flotation devices such as armbands, life vests, and life rings.

Remember that swimming pool toys are not life-saving devices. Although they can float and are a lot of fun, they can also lose air and float away.

Learn CPR and teach it to your kids too. You never know when it may come in handy, and even save a life.