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16Aug 13

Survival in the water: swimming lessons for kids

As a working mum, I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my boys, Jack and Rodger. On the other hand, as I knew I could not be at home with them all the time, I also wanted them to be independent and responsible. That’s why from a very young age, I signed them up for swimming lessons for kids. We go together every Saturday morning, and it’s an activity that we can share when I am not at work.

I know that in England we don’t get to enjoy swimming pools very often, perhaps only one month a year. However, my family and I often holiday in the Mediterranean and spend quite a bit of time by the hotel pool or at the beach.

Survival in the water: Swimming lessons for kids

Survival in the water: Swimming lessons for kids

Swimming Disasters

Since we do spend some time near water, I felt that it was important that my boys learn how to fend for themselves in the pool. A family friend lost her little girl in a tragic pool accident 10 years ago. The toddler was being watched by her older sisters, but they were playing with their Barbies and did not notice that the little one had wandered too close to the pool. She fell in, and the girls did not know how to save her. The family was devastated, and I would never want to have that happen to my boys.

That’s why they started swimming lessons at five years old. They can tread water and swim really well! In the next few years, I believe they will even learn how to save others in case of emergency.

Infant Swimming Resource

Recently I read an article in the paper about US swimming lessons for infants. This method called Infant Swimming Resource Self-Rescue is absolutely fascinating. It is a controversial technique used to teach survival skills in the water to infants as young as six months old. The classes are usually only ten minutes long, and they are one-on-one with the instructor who teaches infants to float on their back in case they ever fall into the pool.

There are several success stories that parents share about their experiences. One mum says that her son was pushed into the water by a friend struggling to take his toy. Her son immediately started floating on his back until the adults could come in and save him.

There are others that call the method heartless and verging on child abuse. Many infants are terrified during the first few classes and cry quite heavily. However, the instructors insist that these lessons are for their own survival.

Whether or not you believe in the effectiveness or ethics of this particular course, I think the lesson here is that teaching young children how to swim is extremely important.

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