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Swim Lessons

swim lessons

My children have all had swim lessons.  We started our children shortly after they learned to crawl.  They learned to float as infants and then swim - float - swim as toddlers.  I do not consider my children drown proof at any age.  Swim lesson are just one component of keeping our kids safe.  We rely on a pool fence and close parental supervision.

Until May 24, 2010, the AAP had actually discouraged swim lessons until children are 4 years old.  After two studies demonstrated that early swim lessons protected children from drowning the AAP softened its stance. While the AAP does not recommend infant swim lessons, it now states “A parents decision about starting swimming lessons or water-survival skills training at an early age must be individualized on the basis of the child’s frequency of exposure to water, emotional maturity, physical limitations, and healthconcerns ....”. Where we live there are multiple pools, lakes and retention ponds in walking distance.  I would feel negligent as a parent if I did not enroll my children in early swim lessons. 

Here are some guidelines in finding the right program for your child.  Always visit lessons before you enroll to educate yourself on the method and goals of the instructor.  Be sure that the instructor is skilled with babies and young children.  Ask what skill level you can expect once the child has completed lessons.  Get referrals from your friends, physicians and neighbors.  Some children may cry or burp up (after swallowing air or pool water).  I’ve heard mothers say they tried lessons but could not make it through the whole course.  Some have complained their traumatized child “won’t go near water”.  I think that is great.  What you don’t want is a mobile toddler who loves the water and thinks he can swim. 

My children take lessons at Southwest Aquatics in Winter Garden.  They make a direct connection between the infant swim lessons (floating/survival) and stroke lessons.  Toddlers learn to float, flip over and swim and float again.  Typically it takes four to five weeks for a happy, skillful swimmer.  It is a smooth transition to “standard” swim lessons.

Dr. Gordon quoted in Orlando Sentinel article

Do Toddlers need swim lessons?


Updated May 25, 2010 by
Dr. Gordon, Windermere Pediatrician







gregorygordonmd.com is intended to help parents understand the needs and behaviors of children. The information presented in the site is the opinion of Gregory Gordon, M.D.and does not reflect the opinion of his partners. This website is owned exclusively by Doctors insights LLC. The advice in this site does not apply to all children. Always consult your healthcare provider for your individual needs.

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