One of the key factors in drowning prevention for all parents is teaching their children to swim.
Historically that meant waiting until children were at least four or five years old, but today, many experts advise that much younger children should be taught survival-swimming skills to make sure they are safe if they get in the water.
Although it is still thought that most children are not developmentally ready for formal swimming lessons – in which they can learn to swim well on their own — until they are at least four years old, the American Association of Pediatrics now recommends swim lessons as a layer of protection against drowning that can begin for many children starting at age 1.
Early swim lessons teach basic survival skills, including the ability to: • Right oneself after falling into the water.
• Proceed a short distance in the water, such as to the side of the pool.
• Float or tread water until someone can pull them out of the water.
Parents who choose this type of survival-swimming skills training — or regular swim lessons, for that matter — can find classes at their local YMCA, American Red Cross Chapter, Infant Swimming Resource Swim Schools and private swimming resource providers.
Experts consider learning survival-swimming skills to be the last layer of protection keeping kids safe. If all of the other layers break down and a child ends up in the water, then hopefully those survival- swimming skills will keep them from drowning until help arrives.