The importance of teaching water safety early

Water safety is one of the most important things to teach your kids as young as possible. Here are a few reasons for these skills, a few benefits, and where to get started.

By Pamela Diamond




One of the best tricks I found for getting my children to nap well was to take them swimming.

Mornings in the pool made for excellent afternoon naps. The fresh air and sunshine gave us a dose of Vitamin D and helped regulate our circadian rhythms, too.

These are great reasons to teach out little ones to swim but there’s another critical reason, too.

Drowning is the leading cause of death in children between 1 and 4 years of age, with most happening in swimming pools. Starting children early with water orientation and building proper safety habits is one of several steps parents can take to prevent drowning. The most important step, however, is supervision. Never leave a young child or infant alone in a pool or bathtub even for a minute.

The American Red Cross recommends starting children in swim classes at 6 months with pediatricians’ approval. Parents enrolling their kids in swim lessons may also wish to take a CPR and First Aid class.

Swim instructor Suzi Teitelman says starting early with swim lessons helps keep fear and resistance to the water from setting in. However, she said, parents need to stick with it.

“It is most important that parents get their kids in the water early and then stay with it. It needs to be something you do regularly for children to feel safe and build their skills and knowledge,” Suzi said.

Most communities have public pools and private swimming facilities that offer swim classes year-round, so swimming isn’t just for summertime. Contact the American Red Cross to find options in your community.

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