Learning to Swim and Swim Safety for Toddlers and Youngsters

by Pool Builders on 07-13-2011 in Articles

When should toddlers learn to swim? Depends on how old they are. The American Academy of Pediatrics used to recommend swimming lessons for ages 4 and up but they are no longer against aquatic programs and lessons for young toddlers and preschoolers of ages 1 to 4 years. Researchers have documented that infant/toddler swimming lessons have the potential to increase intelligence, concentration, alertness, and perceptual abilities. Your young child's needs must be respected while they learn in an environment of joy and acceptance, never compromising your baby's well-being. Water is an incredibly soothing medium - it feels good to float and feel weightless. The buoyancy of the water is like an invisible helping hand and that is why it is so often used in therapy situations.

This zero gravity allows for freedoms that do not exist on dry land making optimal learning conditions which combined with patience can release even hurting child from their shell. For youngsters with many types of problems swimming can be a calming environment for developing and growing together with parents.

Lessons, of course, don't make your children 'drown proof' but they are the optimum way to teach kids to enjoy being in the water and gain confidence. Children show improvement in emotional and physical development. Lessons can also teach the parents a few things about how to be safe around the water.

No program is, obviously, a substitute for adult supervision and learning water safety. Young children's readiness to learn to swim doesn't increase with early lessons - they seem to learn to swim well at the same age - 5½ - even if they started earlier. That's the time their body's coordination and mental control come together. Making sure that everyone involved, adults as well children, becomes acquainted with the safety skills available with early swimming lessons will find it life enhancing as well as potentially lifesaving.

It is imperative that children are never left alone near or in the water. Always make sure an adult is watching closely - if you have to leave for any amount of time, make sure another adult has taken over. Create a checklist of safety rules and review these each and every time children go in the water. Toddlers in particular often do something unexpected because their capabilities change daily. Drownings can happen in less than two minutes. 77% of victims had been missing from sight only 5 minutes or less.

Some basic safety rules for all children near or in the water should include:

· No pushing or holding anyone under the water

· No heads under water in the deep end

· No running, pushing or jumping

· Keep float mats and other toys away from faces

· No toys larger than a baby's head in water with toddlers unless an adult is holding it. It's too easy for a small child to get tangled up and suffocate in plastic mats and toys.

· Keep a cell phone near you at the pool - it can save precious minutes in an emergency.

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