How Early Is Too Early? Teaching Children To Swim

In the past, parents waited until children were the age of four or older before teaching the basics of swimming, as per the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

However, new changes made to help drowning prevention and water safety awareness by the AAP, were announced on May 24 2010.

New Guidelines

The new guidelines recommend teaching children to swim when they are as little as a year old.

The AAP is recommending, although not mandating yet, that parents decide when the time is right to admit younger babies into a swim class, as their studies have proven that those who do have a less likely risk of drowning later in life.

Why the Changes?

The change comes in the wake of drowning risks announcement as well, which spells out even more safety risks associated with young children.

Some of these new risks exposed by the AAP report include the relatively inexpensive inflatable pools that so many families use to keep their kids cool in the summertime. Some of the prevention measures that every parent should take include:

  • Learn CPR just in case of an accident
  • Build a four-foot high, four-sided completely enclosed fence around the pool, even “portable pools,” regardless of laws that state otherwise.
  • When riding in a boat, make everyone, especially children wear life vests.
  • When non-swimmers are near a shoreline, or a pool, make them wear life vests as well
  • Supervise all children at any age, regardless of whether they can swim or not. Those who do not know how to swim should never be out of sight at any time around any body of water.

Responsibilities of Parents

While these are just basic common sense precautions, they are not the only ones and do not dull the parent’s responsibility of teaching their children to swim and constantly supervising them.

The AAP states that even though children do learn to swim, drowning is still the number two cause of children’s deaths from the ages of one to 19.

In addition, even though you and your family might not live near a body of water or a pool, the risk of drowning in a bathtub is almost as great; keep children safe and teach them the basics of swimming as early as possible.

Source: News Highlights

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