Swimming Pool Blog

Swimming Babies

by Sean Griffin, March 16, 2010
toddler swimming - teach your toddler to swim

Swimming Babies

There’s a slim chance your young one will grow up to be the next Michael Phelps but getting your little one to start swimming at a very young age can have lots of other benefits which don’t include several gold medals. Researchers have documented that early swimming has a stimulating effect and has the potential to increase intelligence, alertness, emotional and physical development. Another obvious reason to teach young children to swim is to avoid a drowning incident. Toddler swimming programs have been designed to help even the youngest of children use their natural abilities and instinct to turn over in a body of water and remain floating on their back. Teaching your child to be comfortable in water can be a positive foundation towards a lifetime participation and enjoyment in a variety of water sports. Bonding with your child in the pool is also a possible side effect as babies tend to be happy in the water.
Everyone knows a baby’s first environment is a liquid one both before birth and during labor. The buoyancy of water is an invisible helping hand in the birthing process. Water allows babies to develop both arms and legs within the womb and is a necessity in the cycle of life. When a baby is submerged after birth their “diving reflex” kicks in. While continuing to develop their extremities it is the only activity a child can partake in being completely independent before walking and crawling.
It is essential to know and understand that the key to unlock the growth potential of your child in the water is being patient and never rushing them. Our generation has the “get it done now” attitude with most areas in life, which in most cases is beneficial, however when teaching a child how to swim can be very detrimental, traumatizing and simply unnecessary. Remember that teaching involves being caring and perceptive to the child’s immediate reactions and the long-term effects both mentally and emotionally. So, enjoy the moments spent teaching your child to swim by making your goal to never compromise the child’s comfort and security which will yield great success in the end. learn to swim book, teach your toddler to swim
Research has proven that the slower you teach a child the quicker and more efficiently your child will learn to swim. At the same rate, the frequency of the swimming lessons should be consistent and very repetitious. In order to keep the child’s interest, the learning process needs to be fun. Kids enjoy toys, colors, singing and games, so keep the pressure to perform low by simply having fun together in the water. There are many good learn to swim books, the DK book shown is one of our favourites.
Comfort is vital for anyone, especially children, to feel at ease in the water. There are many controllable factors that parents need to take into consideration in order to maintain a healthy level of contentment. Statistics say that water between 90°F and 92°F and windless air temperature at 80°F or above helps babies adjust easiest, yielding positive results. 
We all know, however, that ideal conditions are not always available. If conditions are at other than the best, it is recommended that each child have a wetsuit to keep warm as well as wear a latex or silicone swim cap to prevent heat-loss from the head. Also, if it’s chilly outside try to avoid having the child sit on the edge of the pool too long, be cognizant that the child’s shoulders are submersed under the water, and if the child’s teeth start chattering it’s time to end the lesson for the day. 
Some children may not be so quick to adapt to swimming lessons, and parents should not force their child to learn swimming faster than they are willing. In order to prevent every parent’s fear that a young child who does not know how to swim may drown in the pool, other safety precautions must be considered. A pool safety fence should be installed - barricading the pool at least four and a half feet high. You can also install a pool alarm which will ring inside the house as well as at the pool side. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (www.cpsc.gov ) did a study on drowning in the USA .The results revealed that 75% of submersion victims were 1-3 years old, 65% of whom were boys. The CPSC just launched a website solely dedicated to pool safety, at www.poolsafety.gov

There is an instinctive defense for toddlers to be able to propel through the water, turn over and float to catch their breath, then propel again. This method can be practiced by children as young as 14 months, as shown in the toddler swim video by childdrowningprevention.com

Owning a pool can entail many responsibilities, but if the correct practices, methods, and precautions are taken it will be an enjoyable, entertaining, and pleasurable leisure activity for the whole family to enjoy. 
Teach your children to swim at an early age ~ you won't regret it!