Doctors: Young Kids Need Swimming Lessons
By Kelli Grant
Published: May 28, 2010, 5:10 PM
It’s why a group of pediatricians says young children should learn how to swim, if their parents think they’re ready.
In the past, the American Academy of Pediatrics had said swim lessons could give toddlers and their parents a false sense of security. But now doctors say it’s fine to introduce your little ones to the water.
To nearly two-year-old Adalee Klein, this pool may seem like an ocean. But that fear is quickly fading thanks to swimming lessons catered to kids her age and those even younger.
“They learn breath control. They learn how to blow bubbles. They have a lot of natural kicking ability; getting the sensation of their bodies floating on the water,” Edie Mueller with Swim America said.
Mueller has been teaching infants and toddlers how to swim for almost 10 years. And she’s happy the nation’s largest pediatricians group recognizes what she’s known for a long time.
“There’s been some studies out there that have shown that children who have taken some swimming lessons, the drowning statistics have actually gone down for kids that have had swimming lessons at a young age,” Mueller said.
Pool drowning is the second leading cause of death for children age one to 19.
“You hear about the horror stories all the time,” mom Kimberlee Klein said.
It’s a statistic Adalee’s mom doesn’t want to see her children join.
Because they travel a lot and are around hotel pools frequently, Klein’s 20-month-old and 4-year-old son are learning how to swim.
“It was important for us to get her in at an early age that way when she is Brodee’s age, when she’s a little bit older, she won’t be scared at all,” Klein said.
The AAP says parents should choose classes that emphasize water safety and require an adult to be in the water with the child.
“We also caution them that even though the kids view this as a fun and exciting place, it’s still a dangerous place for them and even older children need to be supervised when they’re around water,” Mueller said.
But Mueller and these moms agree, lessons early in life can be a life saver.
“Swimming is a life skill. It’s actually a sport and a skill that can save your life,” Mueller said.
Find more pool safety information online.