How early is too early for a child to learn how to swim? While children should never be allowed to be in a pool unsupervised, one safety group insists that even infants can benefit from basic water safety training. Phoenix, Arizona, CW affiliate KYVK reports that Infant Swimming Resource (ISR) has been teaching babies as young as six months of age in a program called ISR Self-Rescue.
According to ISR's CEO JoAnn Barnett, the program is not intended to be formal swimming instruction, but rather an introduction to being in the water.
"Traditional swimming programs teach kids to swim with their heads up or rely on flotation devices," Barnett told the source. "We teach the children to respond to the fact that they're under the water. We give them the skills that they need to save themselves. This should be a last line of defense," she added, noting that parental supervision is essential.
Infants in the ISR Self-Rescue program learn to roll onto their backs and float, rest and breathe. They are also trained to remain in this position until an adult arrives. ISR also has a program for older children in which they learn the sequence of swimming until they need to rest and then floating on their backs to recover.
The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend formal swim lessons for children under the age of one. The organization does say, however, that "mommy and me"-type classes are a good way for parents and babies to bond.
If you do plan on having some fun in the pool with your tot, be sure to outfit them with the right children's swimwear!