Photo Credit: Seth Casteel, Photo taken from Today.com
I once tagged along to watch my friend’s baby during her infant swim lessons. I had to stop myself from jumping in the water after her. Seconds passed, which felt like minutes, she was under water. All of a sudden she turned herself on her back and was floating in the middle of the pool. Her mom and swim instructor cheered her on. Meanwhile, I’m sitting there clenching the sides of the pool trying not to have a panic attack.
From womb to water, some babies are learning to swim before they can even walk. What if I told you babies should begin swim safety as early as when they take their first bath? According to Jan Elmer from Elmer Swim School, teaching a child to swim can start “as soon as the umbilical cord falls off.” I’ll give you a minute to catch your breath. You’re probably thinking, “You’re crazy! I’m not throwing my infant into a pool.” Well good news, you won’t be.
Find out what steps you should follow when teaching your baby swim safety.
Steps To Learning Swim Safety
Step One: Bathtub
Getting your baby used to water as soon as his or her umbilical cord falls off will make for an easier transition into starting swim lessons. Early lessons start by bathing your baby in a full bathtub as you sit in there with him or her. Not only is this a good bonding experience for you and your child, but it will also help him or her feel safe in the water. Try singing to him or her and socializing so he or she knows that you’re there to keep him or her comfort.
Step Two: Parent-Child Swim Class
By six months, your baby has graduated from the bathtub to the pool. Next step, you can enroll your baby in a parent-child swim class. What’s great about these classes is you will be in the water with your baby and lots of other mom-baby duos. Not only will you be there to give your baby support, but he or she will also get used to being around other kids in the pool too, which can make for a less frightening experience.
Step Three: Roll and Float
This is a popular survival swimming technique by Infant Swim Resource. Many infants learn to roll and float on their back by the age of 1. This is good for teaching babies how to get to the surface if they accidentally fall in. In this class, they’re taught to roll onto their backs and bring themselves afloat. Their faces are out of the water until someone rescues them.
Step Four: Swimming Lessons Begin
Finally, they’re ready for swim lessons. If your family spends a lot of time near the water or on a boat, teaching your baby swim safety is important. A U.S. study shows an 88 percent reduction in risk of drowning for kids between 1-4 who have taken swimming lessons. Before you sign your children up for swim lessons, use these techniques to help them adjust to being in the water.
Take a second to enjoy this funny video collection of babies swimming.
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