Beach season is coming, start those swimming lessons now
I was happy to see this news story that refutes the theory that putting toddlers in swim class makes them too comfortable and a risk for drowning. Quite the opposite, this study says. Looking at drowning statistics for kids under 4, only 3 percent of those who drowned had received swimming lessons. When compared to the population at large where 26 percent the same age get swim lessons, that's a powerful incentive to sign up for a class.
Last summer I wrote a post here about how both my kids could swim the length of our pool by the time they were 3 years old. You can find lessons at the YMCA and other local organizations. I always found it funny that when we were in lessons at the YMCA in January, there were only a few other people in the class. But come June, the class with mobbed. Don't people realize it takes years to learn to swim, so why wait until summer to sign up?
I have had a bone to pick with the American Academy of Pediatrics over this because it has long recommended against infant swimming lessons because they give a false sense of protection regarding the risk of drowning. I find this ridiculously paternalistic of the AAP. So I guess I should also not teach my kid to ride a bike because it might lead to a false sense of security and cause me to let him play in heavy traffic?
I got my kids in the water early and often so that I didn't end up with a child who was afraid to put his face in the water when learning to swim. I don't think you should let a kid of any age swim unsupervised or be lax about safety devices such as pool alarms or fences. That's what the story linked above talks about, and I quote: Swimming lessons should be part of a complete prevention program that includes fencing for pools, appropriate adult supervision, and parent and caregiver training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Amen to that.
-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne
[Photo by SKIP O'ROURKE | St. Petersburg Times]