When should your child start swim lessons? Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1-4 than any other cause except birth defects. For children ages 1-14, drowning is the main cause of accidental death after car accidents.
There are three main causes of drowning.
1.Lack of swimming ability. Formal swimming lessons can start with babies, and for years, pediatricians recommended age 4. New studies suggests the earlier the better. Studies also point out other benefits, such as close bonding with parents or caregivers and getting ahead in cognitive, physical, social and emotional development
2.A Lack of barriers. Pool fences which are four-sided, separated from the house and yard reduces the risk of drowning by 83% compared to three-sided fences, so the pool is accessible from the house. Locked and spring-loaded gates prevent children from getting into the pool area without an adults knowledge. The only Certified Professional Childproofer in the state of Arizona is at Arizona Childproofers, our trusted partners, a family owned and operated business in Scottsdale and experts in pool fencing.
3.Lack of close supervision: Drowning is quiet and happens quickly, even in the presence of pool-watchers, adults and lifeguards. Any pool party needs a designated Pool-watcher with a special shirt or hat. This job needs to be rotated every 15 minutes. This May, even 13 and 17 year old teenagers drowned in pools, one during a party.
What does research tell us?
1. Swim Lessons help. Formal swim lessons reduces the risk of drowning in children ages 1 to 4. Sandra Jackson has been teaching Survival Swim Lessons for over three years, and we interviewed her to find out what works. She does 12 to 15 minute swim lessons in parent’s back yard pools for four to six weeks, four days a week. She teaches babies, toddlers and preschoolers to swim, roll to a float, and float on their backs. They practice getting to the side of the pool from the center. Call Sandra at 480-221-0271 to schedule private or group lessons.
2. Every second counts–learn CPR. Nannies have to get certified every two years, and parents and grandparents should too. If you mention Caring Nannies, AERT gives classes for only $24. Too busy? Review a video and practice on a doll or stuffed animal.
3. Remove toys from the pool area when swimming is over. Toys attract children. Pick up floats, balls and toys and store them away from the pool.
4. Practice “touch supervision” be within arms length of your child
5. Don’t use air-filled toys, noodles or water wings for life jackets. They are not designed to be life jackets.
6. Don’t drink while supervising children.