What should you look for in swimming lessons for children?

One of the leading causes of death among young children in the United States is drowning. Learning to swim does not make it impossible for your child to drown, but it does reduce the risk by providing an extra layer of protection.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that most children age 4 and up take swimming lessons. For younger children, you should gauge factors such as your child’s comfort level in the water, physical ability and emotional maturity to determine when your child is ready. Choose a program that includes water survival competency skills in addition to stroke techniques. Here are some other important things to look for.

1. Good safety habits

The program you choose should teach kids good safety habits, such as asking for permission to swim and not getting in the water without adult supervision. It should also teach children what to do if they unintentionally end up in the water.

2. Qualified instructors

The program should use a learn-to-swim curriculum with national recognition. The instructors should have certification and training in teaching this curriculum. If the instructors themselves do not have certification in First Aid and CPR, there should be lifeguards on duty who do.

3. Opportunities to observe

To determine whether a learn-to-swim program is right for your child, you may need to observe it first so you can make an informed opinion. Investigate beforehand to see if the instructors are friendly and supportive and whether they provide one-on-one attention to students.

Ideally, children should spend most of their time in the water during swimming lessons. If they spend long periods waiting for their turn, the program is probably not worth the investment.

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