We all want kids to be safe in and around water, but when it comes to swimming lessons, apparently we should be starting sooner than we thought. The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated their recommendations for drowning prevention and now advise swim lessons should start at age one.
The AAP warns that babies younger than one aren’t developmentally able to do the complex movements needed to swim. They say because infants under that age can’t effectively raise their heads to breathe, there’s no reason to start before their first birthday. And they stress in a policy statement that swimming skills alone don’t prevent drownings, but those skills should be combined with “knowledge and awareness” of risks and hazards, knowing how to wear a life jacket, and being able to recognize and help a swimmer in distress.
These are more water safety recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- The most important safety measure for homes with a pool is a four-sided fence with self-closing and self-latching gates that totally surround the pool.
- Never leave kids alone or in the care of another child while in or near bathtubs, pools, spas, or other open water.
- Don’t leave young children alone in the bathroom. Use toilet locks to prevent toddler drownings.
- When babies or toddlers are in or around water, a “supervising adult with swimming skills” needs to be within an arm’s length to provide “constant touch supervision.”