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Learning to swim

Every child should learn to swim, be confident in the water, and know water survival skills. Although swim lessons don’t eliminate the risk of drowning entirely, they can help prevent tragic water accidents and improve safety around water. Infant aquatic programs can be fun for both babies and parents, but actual swim lessons before the age of 12 months are not
recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Infants have not yet developed the breathing skills necessary for swimming and aren’t equipped to swim independently. There is no evidence to prove that infant swim classes lessen the risk of drowning. Adult supervision around water is always a must. However, the AAP advocates classes that include parent-child play opportunities and offer babies the chance to get acclimated to the water.

Choose a program with instructors who are certified by the American Red Cross in first aid/resuscitation and as lifeguards. Look for classes that focus on fun rather than promise to teach an infant to swim. Infants should not be pressured to submerge their faces underwater if they are reluctant or afraid. The atmosphere should be encouraging and safe. For kids between the ages of one and four, the AAP recommends swim lessons. Although toddlers aren’t developmentally ready to manage involved swim strokes, studies have shown that swim lessons may reduce drowning rates among toddlers and preschoolers. For kids aged four and under, classes should involve both parents and children. If your child is resistant to learning to swim, you might want to stay with water play until they are willing.

Most kids aren’t ready for swim lessons until they are four years of age, when they are able to coordinate the movements of their arms and legs. For children aged four and up, swim lessons become essential. Swimming is also ideal for exercise and a life skill.