How many times have you turned on the news to hear that a child has accidentally drowned in a pool or the ocean? Probably a lot when you consider that drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1-4. This is one of the many reasons why it’s important that your child learn to swim at an early age. When it comes to infant swim lessons, there’s a lot to know, especially if you travel frequently.
Besides the safety factor, there are other benefits of teaching your little one to swim early on. As you search for someone to teach your child to swim, you should know that not all swim lessons are created equal. That’s why it’s important to do your homework.
Why Swim Lessons are Important
Parents often want their kids to learn to swim at a young age because they tend to pick up things quicker. Doctors usually recommend waiting until your baby reaches the 6-month mark to introduce them to a chlorinated pool or lake.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting swim lessons for children at age one as a layer of protection against drowning. The AAP suggests parent-child water play classes to get infants used to the pool, but waiting until they reach the one-year mark to start actual lessons. They say infants may show something referred to as “reflex swimming movements”, but can’t raise their heads above water well enough to breathe.
As babies get their feet wet when it comes to the pool and swimming lessons, consider these benefits:
If you and your family like to travel, you’ll want your baby to feel comfortable in the water. You also want to have some peace of mind knowing that your child can keep their head above water.
Even as your child learns basic water skills, never take your eyes off them in the pool. Always make sure there is an adult with them, especially if you’re in a community pool during vacation. Other people aren’t necessarily watching out for your child. We all know that it takes one split-second for tragedy to happen.
We know your baby isn’t going to be in the gym lifting weights, but swimming does help to build their strength. Learning to swim at a young age means babies need to learn how to hold their heads up, move their limbs, and use their core to stay afloat. This is a workout within itself! But, as babies learn how to do this, they get stronger and better at it.
Coordination & Development
When you’re talking about learning to swim, there is a good amount of coordination involved. As they learn how to make their arms and legs work together to swim, they are jumping leaps and bounds in their development.
Swim Lesson Checklist
As you consider all of the benefits of swim lessons, know that they are all not the same. You want to make an informed choice so that your child gets the most out of them. Here’s a checklist of things to consider:
Certified and Trained Instructor
While your neighbor’s aunt’s daughter may be a great swimmer, she may not be certified or trained to give swim lessons. There are several nationally recognized certifications that instructors can receive, such as certification from the American Red Cross. Ask to see that the instructor has some official certification before signing on. There should also be a lifeguard on duty who is CPR and First Aid certified.
Whether you’re doing a mommy and me water play class with your infant or have enrolled your one-year-old in beginner swim lessons, look for small classes. It’s often recommended and sometimes required that parents stay in the pool with their babies during these lessons. There is still an instructor to go around and teach skills, but a parent is also within arm’s reach. This is done for the child’s safety. Small classes allow for more individual attention without having too many kids in the pool.
Parent Tips for Infant Swim Lessons
Many infant swim lessons and water safety classes also teach the parents about how to help their children in the water. Besides swooping in to pull them out, many parents don’t know what to do if their child gets in trouble in the water. Kids at this age are too young to grasp these concepts, so parents need to know what to do.
Check the Water Temperature
Water temperature is just as important as other safety factors as little ones are just starting out in the pool. If the water is too cold, your baby may get scared. This may trigger a fear of the pool. If the water is too cold, there’s a risk of hypothermia. The AAP recommends swim classes for kids under 3 should be in water heated to 87 to 94 degrees Fahrenheit.
As you plan your family trips with your little ones, consider the importance of water safety classes and swim lessons. The skills taught in these infant swim lessons will not only make your vacations more enjoyable but will also introduce your child to skills they can use their entire lives.
For suggestions on classes to entertain older children during these uncertain times, consider coding for kids. Make sure you are taking care of yourself and check out where to stay for a wellness vacation.