Can I "drown-proof" my infant with baby swimming lessons?...




Baby swimming lessons, mommy and me, "waterbabies," infant swimming lessons, daddy and me...

The official American Red Cross name for these types of classes is Parent and Child Aquatics, though most people will use the term "baby swimming lessons" to describe classes where young children (usually between the ages of 6 months and 5 years) participate in an aquatic program with their parents or other family members.

While the distinction between "swimming lessons" and "aquatics" may seem a bit trivial, there is quite a large difference when it comes to your child's safety.

Referring to these classes as "baby swimming lessons" reveals the very common misconception that there is a way to "drown-proof" your infant, but unfortunately, that is false!

In fact, The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement that stated that "aquatics programs for infants and toddlers have not been shown to decrease the risk of drowning..."(Pediatrics, Volume 105, Number 4, April 2000, pp 868-870).

Children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years are simply not able, physically or mentally, to assess a dangerous situation and then remove themselves from harm's way.

So what's the point of Parent and Child Aquatics?

Well, the true purpose of Parent and Child Aquatics programs is to help young children "become comfortable in and around the water so they are ready to learn to swim." (ARC WSI Manual, p 97). You may even say the class is designed more for the parent or caregiver, who learns how to aid in their child's aquatic education and ensure that their child stays safe in all water activities.

Parent and Child Aquatics programs also later prove to be the all-important stepping stone to a child's future aquatic learning. When water skills and comfort in the water are introduced early in life, a child is less likely to develop a fear or dislike of the water, and hindering any future attempts at learning the necessary water skills to be safe.

Drowning continues to be the second leading cause of accidental death in children AND teenagers, so the importance of developing water skills does not diminish after a child is potty trained or in elementary school (or high school, for that matter). By exposing a child to the water early through "baby swimming lessons" or parent and child aquatics programs, it opens the door to future lifesaving training later on in life. And let's not forget, it's fun, for you and your baby!

Some of the Skills Parents Will Learn:

  • Support and holding techniques
  • How to help their children practice age and ability appropriate skills
  • How to select, use and fit approved lifejackets for their children
  • Basic water safety and rescue skills
  • Some of the Skills Children Will Learn:

  • How to exit and enter the water safely
  • How to feel comfortable in the water
  • How to be comfortable submerging underwater for short times
  • How to float and explore arm and leg movements
  • How to use a lifejacket and much more
  • A Few Considerations:

    Because these classes involve very young children, there are a few adaptations that we make to ensure that the experience is as pleasant as possible for the child.

  • The water must be warm. We recommend at least 82 degrees F.
  • We also like to keep each class session 30 minutes maximum, because little baby bodies generally can't handle more than that.
  • Lastly, we do not submerge the child more than three times in the early stages of learning so as not to traumatize the child.
  • (For more information about the common health and water safety concerns for young children, click here)

    Statistics show that most drownings among children this age happen at home, in their own pools.

    If you have a pool and a young child, you can't afford NOT to take this class.

    Take the first of many steps towards a safe future for you and your child and enroll in our private Parent and Child Aquatics program.

    Enroll Today!

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