If you’re one of them, first of all, congratulations on wanting to introduce your little one to swimming at an early age, but secondly, it may be time to back off just a wee bit, especially when considering what the American Association of Pediatrics has to say. They recommend that parents hold off on formal swimming lessons until after their child’s fourth birthday. According to the AAP, that’s the age when children become developmentally able to learn the skills needed to stay afloat.
Still, don’t let that stop you from at least introducing your little one to the water, having fun, and staying cool this summer. There are plenty of programs out there that focus on games and safety, all designed to help make you and your child more comfortable around the water.
Taking your baby in for a dip? Here are some tips to help keep them safe:
- Keep your baby in your arms , and in your sight at all times.
- Never “dunk” your small child under water. Even little children, especially, those under three years old, can swallow a large amount of water – and this can be fatal.
- If you have a pool, be sure it has at least a four-foot fence on all sides. Also install a self-closing, self-latching gate that’s positioned out of your child’s reach.
- Beware of all water hazards, including inflatable baby pools, buckets, toilets, and tubs — an infant can drown in as little as an inch of water in less than 30 seconds.
- Keep rescue equipment handy. A plastic ring buoy, a pole, a first-aid kit, and a portable phone should be close by at all times.
Lastly, get in touch with your local Red Cross, YMCA or community organizations for more information on programs that properly introduce your toddler to the water.