Are Baby Swimming Lessons Safe?
Baby Swimming Lessons
With the summer holidays starting up, pool covers around the country are coming off, and the local pools are open for business. Of course it’s vital to make sure your children know how to swim, but how early is too early? Are baby swimming lessons, which seem to be getting more and more popular, actually safe?
I’ve heard the argument from other parents I know that babies naturally “know” how to swim from their time in the womb, and that by starting them early, they’ll be way ahead of the game, but something about tossing a tiny little one in the water all by himself just seems terrifying to me. What if they actually didn’t “know” and something horrible happened? Death by drowning happens all too frequently, and although I know swimming lessons can help lower the risk, I’d worry that introducing a babe to the water too early could end in tragedy as well.
I did some digging and found some interesting (and somewhat conflicting) information. Although many swim instructors advise waiting until children are four or five to begin swimming lessons, so they are old enough to understand the instructions given—one study shows that teaching little ones to swim between the ages of one and four can actually reduce their risk of drowning, which is serious business since little ones in that age group have the highest drowning rate. Still, the American Association of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend swimming lessons for babies under the age of one.
My takeaway? Infant swimming, no matter what, seems like a bad idea. If you have a pool at your home or your child will be around water a lot, it might be worth getting them swimming lessons between the ages of one and four. Otherwise, wait until they’re a little older and ready to really understand what’s going on.
How old were your kids when they learned how to swim? Has anyone taken their babies to swim lessons? How did that go? Tell us what you’ve learned in the comments.
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