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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
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.