When are babies ready to swim?

Not an unusual question. We all think it would be better if a baby can swim at an early stage to avoid drowning. But reality is that if they can swim they still need to be supervised at all times, anything can happen and that is really the last thing any parent, family member or friend want. So please be very careful when your child is near water.

When is your baby/child ready to start swimming?

Ah, babies look so cute when they’re enjoying themselves with water. But before you rush off to the nearest swim school to teach your infant to swim, consider this.

Swimming experts are divided on the best age at which a child should start taking lessons.  Some suggest that lessons before the age of four are a waste of time, while others promote lessons from as early as three months.

According to the Child Accident Prevention Foundation of South Africa (CAPFSA), babies who have early aquatic training are not only at less risk of drowning but benefit from superior physical co-ordination, social confidence and mental development, and positive parent-child interaction.

Get in the swim

  • CAPFSA recommend that babies should be at least five or six months old, as younger babies’ immune systems are not properly developed yet.
  • The American Academy of Paediatricians (AAP) shares this view but warns that even though older infants are better equipped to cope with normal waterborne germs, they are nevertheless at risk of infection. Make sure that pools are properly chlorinated to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Pools should also be between 30-32 degrees Celsius. Infants lose heat a lot faster than adults.
  • Select the teacher carefully. The session should be enjoyable. Teachers who are in favour of methods of force, compulsion, punishment and threat can do more harm than good and instill a lifelong fear of water.
  • Keep lessons short and sweet, no more than 15 minutes.
  • CAPFSA warns that even with the best training, no young child can be considered 100% water-safe and they always need close adult supervision near water

article from Parent24

Always ensure that your child is safe around the pool or near water, look at the following” be aware points

  • Always designate a child watcher when there are children playing in and around a pool.
  • Never allow children to play around a pool unsupervised.
  • Encourage neighbours who have a pool to follow pool safety guidelines
  • Tell the baby sitters about pool safety, supervision and the importance of preventing drowning.
  • Enforce rules such as no running, no pushing, no dunking and never swim alone.
  • Don’t rely on swimming lessons or flotation devices to protect your children when swimming.
  • Even if you think that your pool area is secure, never leave children unsupervised in a garden with a pool. Always keep an eye on them, in the house or outside.
  • Attend a CPR class. Make sure your baby-sitter has attended a CPR class.
  • Keep their gates and doors locked
  • Keep their pool gates securely closed and latched

article from Parent24

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