I grew up swimming with a pool and I am a huge fan of teaching kids how to swim. The earlier the better.
Until recently it was belived that children under the age of 4 shouldn’t learn to swim because it can give them false sense of security and they may end up drowning. However, this past Monday the nation’s largest pediatricians group is relaxing its stance against swimming lessons for children younger than 4. Now the group says it’s fine to enroll children as young as 1 and can HELP reduce the chances of drowning! WOO-HOO!
Some studies suggest toddlers may be less likely to drown if they’ve had swim lessons. Of course, the doctors aren’t recommending lessons for every young child, and if parents feel their little ones aren’t ready, that’s okay.
I remember my boyfriend’s little cousin fell in the pool last summer and no one had been watching and she couldn’t swim – I looked over and saw a small pink body slowing sinking. I jumped in the pool and fortunately she had only just fallen in and I pulled her out of the pool safely. Honestly, I was lucky she was okay that day. My personal tip would be to never overreact if a child falls into the pool. Tell him or her she is “okay” and do not make the child think that something overly wrong happened or they will become fearful of the water. Try to encourage safety afterwards and swim with him or her again shortly after to show they will be “okay” and to be brave.
Connie Harvey who heads aquatics development for the American Red Cross said, “Parents should choose classes that emphasize water safety and require a parent or other adult to be in the water with the child, and have at least one instructor for every 10 students.”
The updated policy, released this Monday, May 24, 2010 by the Journal Pediatrics, also recommends fences around all pools, even with the popular inflatable ones. Kids can drown by leaning over the soft sides and falling in.
Take serious note that if you have an older pool – be weary as your kids can drown when their hair or hands get sucked into the drains of pools or spas without drain covers or proper filter-pump equipment.
The rate of childhood drowning deaths has declined in recent years. About 1,100 U.S. children drowned in 2006.
Okay, so how do you choose a swim program for your infant? Know these few tips:
1) Not all infant swimming instruction programs are created equal! There are thousands of competing swimming instructors nationwide, and you can easily find someone willing to ”teach swimming to your kids “. But what is IMPORTANT for parents to understand is that only Infant Swimming Resource’s nation-wide network of Instructors provide safe infant swim lessons that teach children as young as 6-months old self-rescue skills and do so in a manner that is completely safe and PROVEN.
2) Many parents don’t realize the dangers of introducing babies to water (6-months to 4 years old) before they know how to save their lives in an unexpected water encounter – eeks! Those “Mommy & Me” classes can prove to be ultimately dangerous for your baby. Before your baby should feel confident to safely enjoy the water, they must first learn the skills needed for self-rescue.
3) Most recently Infant Swimming Resource was featured on NBC’s Today Show and had some great points about babies and kids and learning the importance of safety in the water – see the video clip at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/37313517#37313517
In support of the new Prevention of Drowning Policy Statement, ISR believes this is a vital step towards keeping children safe both in and around the water. For more than 40 years, ISR has been teaching children from six months to six years aquatic Self-Rescue skills in addition to educating parents and the medical community about family water safety.
ISR’s Self-Rescue techniques were developed by Harvey Barnett, Ph.D. — focused on safety and parent education, ISR has safely and effectively taught more than 200,000 infants and young children. Today, ISR has more than 790 documented cases where former students have used their Self-Rescue to save their own life.
There’s a big problem in many parts of the country with infant and toddler drowning, a serious issue that has had me concerned for many years. I believe strongly that we as pediatricians need to do something about this epidemic, so I decided to take action and speak out on behalf of Dr. Barnett’s proven method for helping young children save their own lives in a drowning scenario. Over the last 20 years, I’ve referred all of my patients to ISR and promoted family aquatic safety by educating my physician peers and the community. Through ISR’s program, I have watched many children acquire life-saving skills and learn how to swim. The program helps babies learn self-rescue skills in the water, and ISR’s swimming method helps prevent drowning. It’s time that pediatricians do something about the drowning problem across the U.S. Observing children learn ISR’s proven techniques more than twenty years – it’s very obvious that young children can learn how to swim. ISR’s swimming lesson method works, and it helps children to save their own lives.”
- David Carr, M.D.” – http://www.infantswim.com/