This week the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced that it has published updated recommendations on water safety to prevent drowning in children. As a community we could not be more pleased about this important update as we too are committed to education on water safety. We commend Nicole Hughes for her hard work and the AAP for making these very important changes. We appreciate the attention put on the value of swim lessons being beneficial for children at a young age, in addition to the importance of vetting experienced swim lesson programs and well-trained instructors.As drowning remains the number one cause of injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4, we must all work together to provide education, resources, and lessons for prevention. As we continue to raise awareness across out community, our number one focus and main priority will remain the same – educating children on water safety while teaching them how to swim and respect the water. Below is an artical written by healthchildren.org detaling the changes and recommendations on when should your a child start swim lessons.
Swim Lessons: When to Start & What Parents Should Know
Learning to swim should be a priority for every family. It's an important life skill that can play a key role in helping to prevent drowning―a top cause of death among children. Children, and their parents, need to learn how to swim to help keep time in the water safe and fun!
Here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on the best time to start swim lessons and what to look for in a quality learn-to-swim program.
When should my child learn to swim?
Children develop at different rates, and not all are ready to begin swim lessons at exactly the same age. When making your decision, keep your child's emotional maturity, physical and developmental abilities and limitations, and comfort level in the water in mind.
The AAP recommends swim lessons as a layer of protection against drowning that can begin for many children starting at age 1.
Parent-child toddler & preschool swim classes: beneficial for many families
Recent studies suggest that water survival skills training and swim lessons can help reduce drowning risk for children between ages 1-4. Classes that include both parents and their children also are a good way to introduce good water safety habits and start building swim readiness skills. If your child seems ready, it's a good idea to start lessons now.
Swim lessons for children ages 4 and up: a must for most families
By their 4th birthday, most children are ready for swim lessons. At this age, they usually can learn basic water survival skills such as floating, treading water and getting to an exit point. By age 5 or 6, most children in swim lessons can master the front crawl. If your child hasn't already started in a learn-to-swim program, now is the time!
Does AAP recommend infant swim classes?
No, because there is currently no evidence that infant swim programs for babies under 1 year old lower their drowning risk. Infants this age may show reflex "swimming" movements but can't yet raise their heads out of the water well enough to breathe. It's OK to enroll in a parent-child water play class to help your infant get used to being in the pool, though; this can be a fun activity to enjoy together.
Remember, swim lessons don't make kids "drown proof."
Always keep in mind that swim lessons are just one of several important layers of protection needed to help prevent drowning. Another layer includes constant, focused supervision when your child is in or near a pool or any body of water. It also is essential to block access to pools during non-swim time. The Consumer Product Safety Commission found that 69% of children under the age of 5 years were not expected to be in the water at the time of a drowning.
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