Welcome to today's Two minute Tuesday, brought to you by Chad Rudnick, M.D. and Boca VIPediatrics! Join us for two minutes as we interview some of the top experts in pediatrics & parenting.
In today's installment, we're making a big splash by talking about swimming lessons and pool safety. Welcome to our 2 Minute Tuesday expert, Annette Fuller, an American Red Cross Certified Swim Instructor with 20 years of experience teaching children of all ages how to swim. Hear what she has to say in response to the most frequently asked questions from parents regarding teaching kids to swim.
So...How long will it take for my child to learn how to swim?
Annette: The real answer to this question is a frustrating “It depends.” But it makes sense… every child is different and a lot depends on the age that they start at, their physical ability, their ears, their tolerance of chemicals and of course, how eager they are to learn. This “How long?” question is perhaps the most common one we get… and that concerns us, because the most important thing to remember is that even a child who has had formal lessons cannot be trusted near water without adult supervision.
What age should my child start swimming lessons?
Annette: It is always a good idea to check with your pediatrician before starting swimming lessons. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) used to recommend against lessons for children under four years of age, but in the light of new research they have eased those concerns. Their main fear is parents becoming less vigilant around their kids after they have had formal lessons. Drownings are silent and happen quickly, often with the guardian close by. If you ever lose track of your child, check the pool or water first.
“What happens if my child is terrified of the water?”
Annette: First, if a child is naturally terrified of the water, forcing the issue at a young age isn’t going to make things any better. You can look at the fear as a good thing, because the child is likely to stay away from any bodies of water. Ultimately, the goal is having fun and staying safe around water. As they get older (4+), they are going to miss out on a lot of fun if they continue to fear the water. To help ease the transition, we find that placing a child in the shower with some toys can help acclimate the child to having water in their face. This, along with playing games & singing songs on the steps of the shallow end, can encourage confidence and an eagerness to learn new skills. Each game should focus on a particular skill needed for swimming; such as breath control.
Annette’s Swim School is an American Red Cross authorized provider servicing Boca Raton & its surrounding communities. Annette’s unique approach focuses on fun & games designed to help children master the skills needed for swimming. The skills taught follow the American Red Cross program so parents can track their child’s progress as they move through various the levels. For more information, contact Annette at 305-905-8888, or visit her website at www.AnnettesSwimSchool.com.