Swimming and Water Safety for the Child

Swimming and Water Safety for the Child

Making Your Child an Active and Healthy Individual

Swimming is indeed a healthy exercise, one which helps to build up stamina and strong muscles. It is not only a recommended form of exercise for adults but also for children. If you want your child to use up all that stored up energy in a beneficial way, then you need to help them find suitable options and hobbies which can help keep them active and healthy.

While indoor hobbies are good, but in the growth years of your child, you definitely want to choose an exercise which helps in their proper physical development and makes them strong. While walking, biking and jogging might be good options, nothing beats swimming by a long mile. With this, your child can learn a sport which is the hallmark of healthy living, and you will have the peace of mind that your child is floating around in a kiddy pool trying to learn how to stay afloat. Better than having them racing up the house stairs and trying antics from on top of the back of the sofa set, right?

Once you have chosen swimming as the ideal exercise option for your young child, now you have to learn to deal with all the thousand little concerns which worry moms as they decide to release their little baby (not so little in actual!) into the big world!

Your Concerns Vs. What Your Child Needs

Your concerns and what’s good for the child should not clash. Every mother should be protective of their child without being overly protective. But, while it is indeed a good idea to keep an eye over that little mischievous imp of yours, sometime or the other, you have to realize that they need to grow stronger, develop good habits and hobbies and also learn to interact with kids their age. So, you can help them do that by adopting a good hobby – swimming!

If you think that your child is still too young to try out such a dangerous sport as swimming, then first you need to realize two things,

  • Many children learn to swim at an early age and enjoy the exercise
  • And there are a number of water safety tips which you can adopt to make sure that your child learns the basics and enjoys the fun of swimming in an easy and safe way

Learn about the benefits of swimming, as it will encourage you to start sending your child to learn some basic swimming techniques, and also practice water safety practices.

Following are some benefits of swimming for children,

  • Swimming is a good choice as an aerobic exercise
  • It is a low impact exercise which ensures body flexibility
  • Improves posture and balance
  • Reduces risk of obesity in children
  • Promotes cardiovascular and lung health
  • Helps coordinate breathing and the body movements
  • Teaches your child about the fundamentals of water safety

So, ready to have your child learn swimming?

When Should Your Kid Learn to Swim?

According to the American Association of Pediatrics, it is recommended that parents should only opt for formal swimming lessons for their children, once they reach 4 years of age. Until then, it is advised that opting for a parent-child program might be just the thing you need to spend some quality time with the baby.

At 4 years, a child has grown enough to be able to learn and develop the skills needed to stay afloat in the water. Till your child reaches the advisable age to start swimming classes, you can focus all your attention on the parent-child program, where both of you can enjoy water games, learn water safety lessons and more. By being familiar with the surrounding, your child will also learn about the safety rules to be observed both in and outside of the pool area.

A study conducted in 2009 revealed that swimming instructions and water safety lessons helped to decrease the drowning risk of children who lay in the 1 to 4 age bracket. Starting off with parent-child water game programs is also believed to be a helpful step in preparing a child for the actual formal swimming lessons which will probably start, when they are around 4 to 6 years of age.

Being aware of the water safety rules and informed about instructions to follow, both inside and outside the pool, also ensures reduced risk of any accidents.

Teaching Water Safety to the Child

So, once you believe that your child is ready to learn the basics of swimming through formal classes, it is time that you teach them the fundamental rules of water safety. These safety rules include swimming in a pool, at the beach or around any other water body.

After having taught and familiarized your child with key water safety rules, you will also have a peace of mind when it comes to the health and security of your kid. While lakes, swimming pools and the beach are tantalizing bodies of water, you need to make sure that your child follows all water safety rules to the letter at all times while they are near a water body or waddling in a couple of inches of water.

Important Water Safety Tips Which Are Your Priority

Water safety is essential for kids and adults as well, so pay attention to and teach your child to adhere to these rules, and make sure you also adopt these precautionary steps.

  • Always ensure adult supervision for the child at all times. Never assume that the child knows how to swim
  • Have an adult swimmer within easy reach at all times, which is part of the touch supervision theme
  • Opt for coast guard approved, proper fitting vests and life jackets for children
  • Opt for a layered precautionary approach with adult supervision and proper swimming gear to ensure maximum effective protection for your child
  • Make specific rules for swimming for each member of the family depending upon their age group, and abilities. Make it clear that these rules are not meant to be broken
  • Use and install barriers around the house pool and home tub
  • Add and activate pool alarms with safety covers to ensure extra layer of protection
  • For an elevated pool in a house, remove all access ladders and keep the body covered when not being used
  • Remove any kind of outdoor furniture, playground equipment or climbable trees which might provide your child access to the pool area
  • Make sure that all toys are kept away from the pool area or beach, as they might attract the child to wade into dangerously deep levels of water.

Learn, practice and teach water safety to your child, and have them grow up to be healthy, active, informed and safe individuals. Since you won’t be there with them all the time once they grow up, it is best to teach them the safety lessons and have them practice water safety from an early age.

© Teresa Boardman, Nanny Options.

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