Diving in, still in diapers - AmericaNowNews.com

Diving in, still in diapers

Drowning is the leading cause of accidental injury and death among children.

For parents looking to get their little ones acquainted with water and swimming safety, there are infant and toddler classes starting as early as two months old.

Before your baby dives into the water, here's what you need to know about selecting a safe program.

Considering that the first nine months of life are lived in liquid, swimming is really second nature to all of us.

John Kirk is an instructor at the Little Otter Swim School located in Charlotte, North Carolina.

"Water is a tremendous medium for kids to move," Kirk says. "Synapses start firing and, suddenly, they're able to learn more and more."

The Little Otter Swim School offers infant swim classes starting at six months old, when most babies have strong head control and have built up better immunity to germs and viruses.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests swimming after their first year, with formal swim lessons waiting until four years old.

They recommend that parents choose a program with at least one instructor per 10 children and with an emphasis on water safety.

They may not all become Olympic swimmers, but even a toddler can learn how to roll on his back and come up for air.

It's a little maneuver that can save their life.

Infants can also start practicing holding their breath or pulling themselves out of the pool.

"None of this, in any way though, negates that a parent should always be watching their kids and making sure their kids are safe and supervised," Kirk says. "If your kid can't swim, you should probably always be within an arm's length of them."

Be wary of any swim school that doesn't let parents participate, or promises to "drown-proof" your little ones.

The best way to pick the right program is to go watch one yourself.

Make sure the water is warm and chemistry controlled. According to the Mayo Clinic, some conflicting research suggests swimming in chlorinated pools may increase asthma or wheezing in infants.

There's not enough proof to warrant keeping healthy babies on dry land, but make sure the pool is well-ventilated.

An infant or toddler swim should not give any parent a false sense of security that their children are now safe to be in and around water solo.

However, it can be a great start to swimming safety for your baby with a bonus social hour, all before they can even learn to count!

Parents can also familiarize their little ones with water in the bathtub by counting 1-2-3, and gently pouring a little water over their child's face on the count of 4.

If you do this several times a day in a tub without soap, your child will be pool-side ready in no time.


Additional Information:

The following information is from BabyCenter.com.

  • Introduce a child to the water at 6 months old.
  • The goal is socialization, and formal swim lessons should start around 3 or 4 when they are developmentally ready.
  • Observe a class before you join to make sure it's well organized with clear demonstrations.
  • A lifeguard should always be on duty.
  • The pool should be warm and the class should be small with no more than 10 parent child pairs.

The following information is from the Lifestyle Swimming School located in Boca Raton, FL.

  • If you do not have access to a pool to practice, count 1-2-3 and gently pour small amounts of water over the child's face on the count of 4. Do this several times a day in the bath (without soap).
  • No one is ever "drown-proof".
  • Children 6 months to 10 months can learn to hold their breath on cue when dipped underwater. By 12 months, some can swim 5 seconds between two adults, swim and grab onto the side of the pool, and perform a sitting jump off the side.
  • Children 19 months to 24 months can learn to jump off the side, turn around and swim back.
  • Children 28 months to 36 months can learn to recover for breath.
  • Children 36 months to 4 years old will begin to back float.

 The following information is from the article "Pediatricians Approve Swimming Lessons for Babies" published by Healthland.Time.com.

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics changed its position on swimming lessons for toddlers younger than 4 in 2010.
  • The AAP previously recommended against lessons for very young children on the grounds that no evidence existed that early lessons reduced the risk of drowning or encouraged proficient swimming skills.
  • Now, the AAP advocates lessons as early as age 1.
  • Chose lessons that emphasize water safety and require a parent or adult to be in the water with the child.
  • Classes should have at least 1 instructor per 10 students.

The following information is from the article "Swimming Programs for Infants and Toddlers" published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

  • Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury and death among children.
  • Children are not ready for formal lessons until after their fourth birthday because they cannot voluntarily hold their breath for significant amounts of time until that age.

The following information is from the article "Infant Swimming" published by the Mayo Clinic.

  • Some research suggests that infant swimming in chlorinated pools may increase the risk of lower respiratory tract infections or asthma, but there isn't enough information conclusively linking infant swimming and asthma to warrant keeping healthy babies out of indoor pools.
  • One 2008 study found that infants who swam at age 6 months had a greater risk of having an episode of chest congestion or wheezing in the chest up to age 18 months - if their mothers had a history of allergies. But another study published the same year found that infants who didn't swim before age 1 had a greater risk of being diagnosed with asthma at age 6. Similarly, a 2011 study designed to explore cause and effect found that swimming didn't increase the risk of asthma or allergy symptoms.
  • Opt for a well-ventilated facility. Ideally, staff members will open doors and windows in the pool area and use fans to boost airflow over the surface of the pool when it's crowded. Also, be sure to rinse yourself and your baby in the shower before entering the pool to reduce the formation of irritants in the water.

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