Why Every Child Should Learn to Swim
Childhood drowning – the sad truth
In Australia, drowning is a leading cause of accidental death for children under 5, with swimming pools the leading location. Tragically, in Australia last year 12 young children lost their lives prematurely, with half of these incidents happening in swimming pools. Swimming and water safety skills are a necessity for every child.
While we can never totally eliminate the risk of drowning, we can take measures to keep our kids safer around water and prevent tragic drowning accidents.
When should you introduce your kid to swimming lessons?
Knowing when to introduce your child to swimming is a tricky one. After all, it signifies a HUGE milestone – and who wants to see their little ones grow up so fast?!
Rest assured, advice from Kids Alive is kids can start Formal swimming lessons can start as early as 4 months of age. The swimming lesson provides the perfect opportunity for parents to bond with their baby as they learn vital swimming and water safety skills.
What are the first things you teach children who are learning to swim?
The journey from floating to freestyle isn’t a simple one.
The first and most important lesson kids should learn at swim classes is building independence and relaxation in the water. Infant aquatic lessons are all about familiarisation and fun! If it’s your child’s first time learning to swim, classes with a parent or guardian in the pool are often the best starting point.
Remember learning to swim follows certain basic principles including water familiarisation, breath control, submersion, floating and propulsion. Water safety skills will underpin everything that your child learns during the swimming lesson.
How long should it take a child to learn to swim?
Well, how long is a piece of string? Swimming is a skill that takes time to master. So be patient.Every child is different and progresses at different speeds. And that’s OK. Some will learn in a few months but it’s not uncommon for children to take a year or more to learn to swim. Luckily there are numerous options available for children of different levels.
The most important consideration when learning to swim is frequent exposure. That’s why holiday programs are so great at fast-tracking children’s progress. Remember that regular opportunities to play in the water, alongside formal lessons will get the best results. Don’t worry if you haven’t started swimming lessons at an early age. Everyone can learn to swim with regular exposure in a fun and positive environment.
The list of benefits goes on…
Swimming makes children smarter. Yes, you read that correctly. Research found that children who learned to swim at a young age have more advanced physical and cognitive abilities.
An Australian study found that three-to-five-year old’s who participated in swimming lessons scored higher in reading, oral expression, mathematics, story recall, visual motor skills and understanding directions. That’s right! And if that’s not reason enough to take your child to swimming lessons, swimming has been shown to work every major muscle group and is a great way to increase muscle mass, bone strength and joint health.
Not only that but tiring out your kids earlier on in the day has been (un)scientifically proven to reduce the risk of them waking you up at an ungodly hour of the night!
Swim Schools are inclusive environments where everyone in the community is welcomed and valued. The buoyancy of the water provides a unique opportunity for independent movement and exercise.
Supervision is key 🔑
While lessons are important to teach your child water safety rules and allow them to learn boundaries you shouldn’t rely solely on them to keep your little ones safe. One important thing to remember is that children who seem water confident aren’t always competent swimmers.
Active adult supervision is critical in preventing drowning among children. The National Drowning Report 2020 indicated that lapses in supervision continue to contribute to childhood drownings.
Takeaway: For the health of your child, as well as their future safety, make sure that they learn how to swim. It’s never too late!
To help prevent further tragic drowning deaths, Poolwerx and Kids Alive are partnering with Australia’s swim schools to offer free swimming lessons for children under five from Saturday 25th September to Sunday 3rd October. With Australians set to be holidaying at home for the time being, it’s important we get the support of pool schools and parents across the country and make sure water safety skills are accessible for all. For more information on Learn2Swim Week, visit our website.