According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the second leading cause of death in infants and children younger than 15 in the U.S., second only to automobile accidents.
All children should learn to swim for safety’s sake.
Add to this the fact that the highest incidents of drowning occur in children younger than age 5 and it becomes clear that the ability to swim is a must for all children.
The AAP advises parents to “teach children water and swimming skills as early as possible,” and local parents are in luck, because our area is overflowing with facilities, schools and clubs offering swim lessons, swim teams and open swim play for kids of all ages.
One of the most fun ways to acclimate an infant or toddler to the water is to grab your suit and join a Parent/Child swim class together. “Infant swim classes are introductory classes to help get the child used to the water,” says Denise Cull, WSI Certified by the American Red Cross, and a swim instructor for Town & Country Sports Complex in Northern Kentucky.
“These classes are not only for the child, but for the parent as well “” to teach the parents safety techniques with the child and to help them learn to handle the child in the water.” Missy Kucia, children”™s program manager with the Cincinnati Sports Club, says, “A parent/child introductory class is designed to help infants become comfortable in the water and to teach parents how to safely play in the water with their infants. Parents should expect this class to acclimate children to the water and prepare them for group or private lessons in the future.” But Kucia cautions parents not to expect their babies to actually learn to swim.
“Parents often want to see their infants go under the water immediately, but I believe that teaching a child to kick, float, blow bubbles and move their arms, as well as showing the parent the proper way to hold the child during all of these skills is much more important.”