We’ve all heard about the importance of swim lessons and seen advertisements for lessons at all ages. But, at what age should you actually start sending them?
The answer may surprise you.
For years, the American Academy of Pediatrics always said that age four was the magic age when your child should start lessons. Why? Because that’s usually the time when kids can actually grasp the concepts of treading water, floating, and other important skills needed for swimming. Although they may not be great listeners, they can begin to learn how to follow directions which can help them learn how to swim.
But now, the American Academy of Pediatrics is saying that kids should start lessons at age 1 to prevent drowning accidents. This is the first time they’ve made recommendations for such a young age. Statistics show that swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent. That’s vital because drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional-injury related death in kids ages 5-19.
3 Things to Look for in Swimming Lessons for Your Child
Whether you sign up your child for swim lessons at age one or even if you wait until age four, you should look out for the following things:
- Swim lessons should be taught by a First Aid or CPR certified instructor (preferably both).
- Kids should learn water survival skills so that they know what to do when they get into trouble in the water. The key is that they don’t panic.
- You should be able to sit in on the first lesson to make sure it’s right for your child. Some kids work better with certain techniques and instructors than others. You want to make sure it’s a good fit all-around.
- Check the child to instructor ratio. It’s usually recommended that it be no more than 6 to 1.
You also want to be consistent with lessons. Kids will often need multiple lessons to get the basics down. Even when they have learned these, you may want to continue lessons until they learn more, like swimming well under water. Who knows, swimming may turn out to be their sport of choice!
Where Can You Look for Swim Lessons?
There are many different places where you can find swim lessons for your child at different age levels. Check with your local parks and recreation department as well as your local YMCA. You may also be able to inquire about swim lessons with your local American Red Cross.
Some people who have a pool at home also look for instructors to give private swim lessons at home. If you go this route, just be sure they are CPR certified and qualified for your child’s age level.
One thing to remember is that even when your child does learn how to swim, you still need to watch them. Children should always be supervised because accidents can happen at any time.