At what age should my baby learn to swim?
According to Google, six months is the time to start
From the moment children are born we encourage them to push boundaries, be it rolling over, bouncing in a door-frame or walking, and standing, holding our hands –all while on dry land, therefore why not in water??
If we’re honest we all know our little bundles of joy are unlikely to swim in the Olympic Games (note: the youngest person to do this is: Kyoko Iwasaki of Japan aged 14 and 6 days) during infancy, therefore if this isn’t our goal from baby swim classes; what is?
Different swimming coaches around the world will have an opinion on this subject, some will be commercially influenced and others sentimental, ultimately though all will align to the following facts:
In the USA there is on average 3,500 water (but non- boating) related drownings each year
In the UK this number is roughly 10% of that published in the USA, but consider the population difference
Even 1 death is too many, and according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, drowning is a leading cause of death in 1-4 year old children.
Could these have been prevented with basic swimming skills, we’ll never know, but as a father I do know I’d rather give my children a fighting chance as early in life as possible.
Some of you will remember the underwater baby on The Nirvana album cover from the 90’s, what a great shot and a real nice to have; I have one myself. However, the skills that I’d expect a baby swim class to teach would be more than just reactive holding of breath (needed for the photo) – and alongside the nursery rhymes don’t underestimate the importance of:
Your child having confidence to be in Water
Knowing how to hold on to the side of the pool
Grabbing for floats/ toys/ people that maybe in the water
Screaming and crying at the right time
Balance and flotation
Basic movement and rotation skills