Summer is here and with it comes fun in the water. Whether it’s the beach, pool, or a water park, kids love splashing around under the hot summer sun. However, sometimes playing in the water can lead to tragedy. Getting your children properly acquainted with the water and teaching them age-appropriate swimming skills and techniques as well as learning proper safety precautions will lead to many years of fun in the water for you and your kids.
Here are some introductory swimming and safety tips for all age groups.
CHILDREN UNDER 1
Swim Tips – It is a good idea to introduce your baby to water at six months old. The goal at this age is not to teach them to swim, but get them comfortable in this environment. Encourage your baby to have fun by playing games with them, showing them how to splash and bobbing them up and down, all while in your arms.
Safety Tips – You should never submerge your baby’s head under water as they could ingest a large amount of water. Also never leave your baby unattended in or around a pool of any size, including small inflatable pools. An infant can drown in less than an inch of water in under 30 seconds.
CHILDREN 2-3 YEARS OLD
Swim Tips – At this age, your child will develop a curiosity about the water and become more active in it. It is recommended to play games that require your toddler to move their arms, kick their legs, and float on their stomach and back while you support them. Also teach them how to blow bubbles in the water so they learn how to get their face wet without swallowing water.
Safety Tips – Even though your toddler may feel more comfortable in the water, you should never leave them alone for a second. Do not rely on any air filled flotation devices, including water wings. They provide a false sense of security and can deflate, resulting in drowning. This is the age to begin to stress proper pool safety to your child. Discuss such rule as no running along the side of the pool and only going into the water with an adult.
CHILDREN 4-5 YEARS OLD
Swim Tips – Your child is now beginning to develop the proper coordination necessary to swim by themselves. This is the age to begin swimming lessons. Lessons, whether through an instructor or by a parent, should include teaching the child how to float independently, submerge their face underwater for five-ten seconds, and use coordinated kicking and arm movements.
Safety Tips – Even though you don’t need to hold your child at this age, you should practice what is called “reach supervision” or being in the water, within reaching distance of your child.
CHILDREN 6 YEARS & UP
Swim Tips – At this age, your child should be able to hold their breath for longer periods of time, swim underwater and be able to jump into water and resurface on their own. This is a good time to learn the various types of swim strokes as well. Learning these strokes will increase their strength and endurance.
Safety Tips – Your child can swim in the water without you at this age, but they still need to be supervised. Make sure diving is done only at the deep end of the pool. Also, be mindful that your child’s swimming skills in a pool don’t always translate to swimming in the ocean or lake so be extra careful.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.