Babies Can Swim! When To Start Swim Lessons and Why!

Babies Can Swim! All of the Benefits
That May Surprise You!

Original Article By: Lana Whitehead

Did you know that babies can develop a passion for swimming? They are born with a love for the water so parents can go together on an exciting adventure as their child learns about water and eventually learns to swim!

Here are some fun facts about babies and swimming:

  • Children under six months have a natural inclination towards the water due to their primitive stroke action and a gag reflex that enables them to hold their breath under water.
  • Early introduction to aquatics is best, because a child under age one is less influenced by negative attitudes about the water.
  • Children who take baby swimming classes are known to do better in gripping, reaching and balance tests than non-swimming babies.
  • Early exposure to water will not only encourage a desire to swim but will reduce the chances of a child developing a fear of water.
  • A study conducted by Ruth Brenner and her colleagues in 2009 at the National Institute of Health, discovered that participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children aged 1-4 years.
  • The goal for the combination of swim and water safety lessons for the 1-4 year old is for them to learn a swim-float-swim technique used worldwide to prepare the child for an emergency situation.

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Swimming Safety Tips

Swimming Safety Tips

1. Take swimming lessons. Regardless of age, knowing how to swim is the most important factor in preventing drowning. Enroll your kids in swim lessons before your summer outings and make sure they can competently swim before allowing them to get in the water. Adults can also benefit from lessons, especially from an instructor who can demonstrate life saving techniques in the case someone you are with is drowning.

2. Never swim alone. It doesn't matter if you are a beginner or a seasoned swimmer, always buddy up with someone before you hit the water. Set a rule with your kids that they cannot go into the water alone. In addition, swim only in supervised areas and obey signs posted by the pool or body of water.

3. Be aware of the water. Most public pools have numbers along the side indicating the depth of the pool. Teach your kids the meaning of these numbers and deter them from diving into shallow waters. If you are at a lake, discourage them from diving in without first surveying not only the depth of the water, but also the presence of rocks, tree stumps and other obstacles. Wearing old tennis shoes is a good way to prevent foot injuries from rocks, sticks or broken glass on the lake bottom.

4. Do a self-check. As you are swimming, be sure to listen to your body. If you feel at all fatigued, too cold or overexposed to the sun, get out of the water. Periodically as your kids are swimming, ask them how they are feeling. Teach your kids to self-check and explain that getting out of the water when they aren't feeling their best can keep them from drowning.

5. Always avoid alcohol. Alcohol can not only impair your swimming ability, it can also reduce your body's ability to stay warm. Alcohol also increases the risk of you unintentionally falling into the water and getting injured. If you are thirsty, drink water, juice or another nonalcholic beverage. This will not only help keep you safe while swimming, it will set a good example for your kids.

By: Michele Borboa, MS