Swimming Lessons: When Should Your Children Start?
Accidental drowning is one of the leading causes of death in young children. Swimming lessons may seem like the best way to prevent drowning. But, organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends "layers of protection," meaning that parents must think beyond swimming skills to other ways they can promote water safety.
The AAP emphasizes the importance of teaching children how to swim. There has been controversy, though, as to what age lessons should start. Originally, the AAP held the position that children are not developmentally ready for formal swimming lessons before the age of four and that parents should not feel secure about their children's swimming ability if they enroll them in swim classes at an early age.
But, new evidence has led the AAP to adopt the viewpoint that children aged 1-4 may be less likely to drown if they have taken swimming lessons. Ultimately, it is up to the parents to decide whether their young children are emotionally and physically ready to begin formal classes with a swim instructor.
Last reviewedDecember 2011by Brian Randall, MD
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