Summer is right around the corner and for most kids it means one thing: fun in the water! Whether it's the pool, a lake or the ocean, many kids count the days before they can jump in and have some fun. Unfortunately, with drowning being the number one cause of accidental death for children between the ages of 1 and 4 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, water safety is a must. 

And that's why I've always known that I wanted my children to be comfortable around water as early as possible. So, after doing some research, I found a swim program that teaches infants--as young as 6 month--the survival skills they'll need if they ever accidentally fall into a pool or any other body of water. Although controversial because up to recently the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended against such lessons for toddlers, I feel confident that I made the right choice. 

I'm not going to lie, though. It wasn't easy watching my almost 2-year-old daughter cry and scream almost the entire 10 minutes her daily infant swim lessons lasted. But I had done the research and I knew it was the right thing to do, and so I kept bringing her back. 

I've now had both my children go through the Infant Swim Resource program, which basically teaches kids "self-rescue" skills by teaching them to hold their breath when they go under water, roll on their backs and float without assistance until they are rescued. Older children are taught to alternate between swimming and rolling on their backs to float so they can rest until they get to the edge of the pool. The one-on-one classes are every day for only 10 minutes and can last between four and six weeks depending on your child's progress.

I've been totally amazed both times by what the instructors have taught my children and I will be forever grateful. Luckily, they've never had to put their skills to the test for real because regardless of what they've learned I'm still a huge believer that constant supervision is the only way to prevent any kind of tragedy. 

Check out this video of my daughter floating on her back to get an idea of what I'm talking about. 

What do you think about this method of teaching children survival skills in the water? Tell us by leaving us a comment. 

Image via JAG Photography

 

About the author

Roxana A. Soto is Features Editor of MamásLatinas. She's a bilingual and bicultural journalist born in Peru and raised in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and Miami. She's also mom to a girl in 3rd grade and a boy in Kinder. She loves books, languages, traveling and good food – especially when cooked by someone else.

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I did the same lessons for both of my children. It is hard to watch but so worth the peace of mind. I'm always vigilant with locks, pool fences, designated pool watcher, cpr and a phone by the pool. My 13 & 10 year olds are confident happy swimmers today AND I lived the program so much
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that I became a Safe Start instructor for the Central Florida YMCA. This program is the Infant Swimming Resource offered through the YMCA. As instructors we are certified by ISR each year. Www.safestartusa.org Go observe lessons and talk to the instructor and the parents it will be the best thing you ever do for your kids.
SEA0701

Yeah I started swimming classes with my baby girl at 6 months. Now she is 11 months and loves the water. Our swimming class was about 45-50 min long, for 8 weeks. Week after week i could see how comfortable she was in the water, the hardest part for me was when the teacher stared putting her under water but know i do it myself to her and she knows to close her mouth and hold her breath.

I would deffinitly recomend taking a swimming class with your childern, the younger the better i think that way they would be scard when they are older.

acrog...

It think this is both good and bad. Good because it teaches our children valuable skills that they can carry with them into adulthood, but bad because it can give us parents a false sense of security. Even excellent swimmers can drown in the right circumstances.

Mis hijos han tenido contacto con el agua en diferentes situaciones desde muy pequeños, les enseñamos a flotar desde muy chicos y actualmente ya saben nadar ( 8 y 10 años), es una verdadera tranquilidad el verlos desenvolverse bien en el agua pero esto también conlleva una gran responsabilidad ahora yo tengo que mejorar mis hablidades ya que nadan mejor que yo!!!
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