What skills should your child learn?
Roll back and Float
Your child should be taught how to roll onto their back independently and maintain a back float until rescued. Your child may also learn how to flip over and swim to an exit. These skills are called self-rescue.
Hold Breath as Water Rises
Your child should learn how to close their mouth and hold their breath as the water rises on their body. Do not teach your child how to blow bubbles underwater. This encourages them to open their mouths underwater and exhale all the air that helps with buoyancy.
Turn and Reach if Fallen into pool near edge
If your child falls into a pool, they may be close enough to the edge where they can turn around and reach up. This may sound simple, but if they do not learn this skill and do not practice, they will not likely use this in the event of an emergency.
Practice Falling In
After your child has mastered their skills in a swim suit, your child should practice their skills fully clothed . They should also practice simulated falling into the pool under careful supervision of an instructor. Taking care to protect the child from the pool edge.
What about instructor training and safety?
Academic and Hands on Training
Your instructor should be trained in the technique they perform. Training should include academic work out of the water, and hands on with a training professional. Inquire about ongoing learning requirements and re-certification.
CPR & First Aid Certified
Your instructor should be trained to respond in the event of an emergency. Inquire about their credentials. They should be trained and comfortable performing child and infant CPR and first aid.
Do NOT use Flotation Devices
High-Quality lessons do not use flotation devices to teach your child to swim. Flotation devices can confuse your child, and lead to postures that cannot be maintained with its use such as: vertical posture, and head up posture when swimming
1:1 Student Instructor Ratio
Lessons should be with one student and one instructor. This will provide a safe learning environment and allow your instructor to tailor lessons to fit the physical and emotional needs of your child.
What should NEVER be a part of a lesson: Excessive water drinking, excessive urination after a lesson, diarrhea after a lesson, vomiting during a lesson (or after), swollen belly or belly pain (abdominal distention), reduction in activity level (lethargy) after a lesson or during, choking on water (aspiration), respiratory distress (retracted breathing).
What does the aap say about all this?
"There is tremendous variability among swim lessons, and not every program will be right for each child. Parents and caregivers should investigate options for swim lessons in their community prior to enrollment to make sure that the program meets their needs and the needs of the child."