Kids who know how to swim are safer kids. Every child should learn to swim, and more importantly, all children should learn to be safe in and around water. Learning to swim is a life skill that is not only a lot of fun, but something that can also save your life. If you want to help your kids be safer, make sure they learn to swim at and early age.
Please watch this short safety tip I made when my daughter and I were swimming at Lake Como, Montana:
Drowning: How serious is this?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children fourteen years old or younger. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States.
For every child who dies from drowning (two every day), another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries. Children ages 1-4 have the highest drowning rate. Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1-4 than any other cause except congenital anomalies (birth defects). Among those 1-14, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes.
What factors influence drowning risk?
The main factors that affect drowning risk are lack of swimming ability, lack of barriers to prevent unsupervised water access, lack of close supervision while swimming, location, failure to wear life jackets, alcohol use, and seizure disorders.
See that first factor? Lack of swimming ability. Many adults and children can't swim. Research has shown that participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning among children aged 1 to 4 years old.
There are many people older than 4 that can't swim. So it doesn't matter how old you are your children are right now. If you or they can't swim. Learn now! And if you have young children in that 1- 4 year old range, enroll them in swimming lessons and give them a gift for their entire lives. If you have children in the future, remember this lesson and get them into swimming lessons early.
Where to learn to swim:
There are many places you can enroll your child in swim lessons. Some of the best national programs can be found through these organizations.
American Red Cross
YMCA of the USA
Starfish Aquatics Institute
United States Swim School Association
Even if you are a great swimmer, it can often be better to enroll your child in a program at one of these institutions. They provide age appropriate lessons as well as water safety lessons. We chose the local YMCA for our daughter and were very happy with her progression through the different levels.
Regardless of where you chose, don't put this off. It really is something that will benefit you and your child in so many ways. Swimming is great exercise, it's fun, and it can save your life.