What age should my infant learn to swim?

Every year, hundreds of parents lose their infants and toddlers to drowning accidents. In fact, nearly 400 children under the age of 5 die each year from drowning. Infant swimming lessons are meant to address this issue directly. 

There are two types of lessons for infants: ISR or Mommy and Me Lessons. ISR lessons, also known as Infant Self-Rescue, are intensely focused on survival tactics in the water. Mommy and Me lessons, while also emphasizing survival strategies, allow for more bonding between parent and child, making the lessons fun and interactive. Before we tell you why infant swim lessons are important, we want to make sure you know the details on both types of lessons. Head over to our list of blogs and select the “Should I do ISR or Mommy and Me Lessons” to answer any questions you may have. 

We feel even one drowning death is too many, and we structure infant swimming lessons to make sure your infant has the skills necessary for reducing the risk of a drowning accident as much as possible. We are committed to the cause, and we hope you are too. It is important to get your infant these lessons as soon as you can for safety purposes and otherwise, so your infant is safe and your mind can be more at ease, but there’s more to it. 

You may be wondering by this point, “When should my infant learn to swim?” This is completely reasonable to ask, considering most infants don’t even learn to walk until they are about a year old. However, the answer may surprise you, but first, we have some clarifying to do. 

What is swimming?

When we say “swimming” we usually mean “Propelling yourself through the water using your limbs.” That is precisely what most people will envision when we say “swimming”. However, in the context of infant swimming lessons, we mean something entirely different. 

Swimming lessons for infants are intensely focused on survival techniques, meaning – teaching them to turn over to their back, float on their back, remain calm, and breathe until help can arrive. This is important to note considering the statistics we gave earlier. These survival techniques can mean the difference between life and death for an infant. 

When can they begin to learn?

Infants can begin to learn survival techniques in the water as young as 6 months old. Surprisingly, in some cases, they can learn how to survive in the water before they even learn to walk! 

Why should you get your infant into swim lessons as soon as possible?

We already have referred to reducing the risk of drowning, which for most parents, is the essential objective they’d like to achieve by getting their infant in swimming lessons. However, infant swimming lessons also have some surprising benefits you may not be aware of. Since you are reading this, we assume you’d like to know what those are. Below, you will find everything you are looking for, and by the end of it, we hope you understand the importance of infant swimming lessons and how it will benefit them in their lives. 

Comfort in the Water

Have you ever met people who grew up by the ocean, and have absolutely zero fear about going in the ocean, confronting large and intimidating waves? Well we have too. Have you ever noticed that when you ask them why they have very little fear surrounding the ocean, they usually always say something along the lines of, “Well, I grew up in the water.” This is exactly the point we want to get across here. 

Early exposure to water in a safe environment, with supervision, allows a child to be accustomed to the water. They learn how it feels to float. They overcome any innate fear responses they may have with the guidance of instructors and parents that allows them to gain confidence in the water. Eventually, they learn the skills necessary to navigate the water themselves. However, that is more for the older kids. Let’s stick with the toddlers. 

Building up comfort in the water at an early age allows them to grow up without fear of the water. This reduces their risk of developing aquaphobia, the fear of the water, to almost zero. Comfort in the water reduces their risk of panics in swimming scenarios and makes them more competent as a person in and around water. Fortunately, water has more uses than swimming such as surfing, wakeboarding, and many other fun activities people do to enjoy the water. If your infant develops comfort in the water at an early age, they are much more likely to not only lack paralyzing fear around water, but also make use of it in productive and fun ways. 

If your infant does not come in contact with water at an early age and learn to navigate it in a safe and competent way, they are much more likely to grow up avoiding it altogether. If they are to take swim lessons later in life, they my find it difficult to get comfortable if they did not have early exposure to it. 

Although its certainly not impossible to learn to swim later in life, it will absolutely help them if they were taught at an early age to remain calm and use the survival techniques they were taught as babies. 

Survival Techniques

Too many infants and toddlers die each year from drowning. During infant swim lessons, they are taught life-saving skills that could buy them the difference between living or dying. It may sound dramatic, but these strategies really could make that difference, and the last thing we at Safety 1st Aquatics want to hear about is another story of a baby falling in the pool when their parents weren’t looking. This happens far too often. 

During infant swimming lessons, your child will be taught to roll on their back, float, breathe, and wait until help arrives. This skill, when mastered, IS the difference maker, and infants can start learning it as young as 6 months old, before they even learn to walk. 

Think about this skillset, and how much more your mind would be put at ease knowing that if your baby were to find its way into the water without you looking, that it would be able to save itself time for you to come rescue it? Without this skillset, your baby has only seconds before it begins drowning. 

Are you ready?

Look, we know its difficult raising children. They try to eat everything they get their hands on, they run off every time you look away, and they have no idea the risks involved in anything they do. This can drive a parent mad with worry about what their kid might get into next, and we know the water is one of those risks that can become fatal after only a minor misstep at the edge of the pool. By getting your infant into swimming lessons, they mitigate this risk, grow accustomed to the water, and go on to lead lives of enjoyment regarding anything in and around the water. 


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