It’s a lifetime sport. It’s a life skill. It’s also safety skill, and one of the best workouts one can find. There are plenty of reasons to give your kids swim lessons, but there’s one thing almost everyone agrees on: the earlier you start, the better off everyone will be.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 19, with toddlers and teenage boys being at the greatest risk. Though the studies have been small, evidence shows that children aged 1 to 4 may be less likely to drown if they have had formal swimming instruction. Plus, starting early makes it more likely that spending time safely in the water will feel like second nature.
First, ask questions. Find out the instructors’ certifications. A lot of pool and beach instructors are certified through the Red Cross. YMCA, almost always a great place to learn, has their own safety course. No matter what the process, you need to know that the adult in charge of the class (and not just the lifeguard on duty) knows basic lifesaving skills like CPR, as well as specific water safety techniques. Seek out a well-organized class, a teacher who clearly demonstrates everything she wants the kids to do, a warm pool and a small class (no more than 10 students).
Swim lessons are a fun and practical rite of passage. Finding the right program can help ensure safe summer fun for years to come.