Risk Prevention Benefits of Starting to Swim Early
Drowning, among children ages 1-4, is the single leading cause of injury-related death. Each year, it takes nearly 1,000 children, and leading researchers are seeking to prevent the epidemic’s continuation. At the AAP, the American Academy of Pediatrics, a recent study and list of updated recommendations has been published; in it, they recommend that all children should learn to swim, and that swim lessons are developmentally beneficial at least from the age of one. Center for Disease Control statistics show that there were an average of over 3,500 fatal drownings annually in the United States, of which one in five are children 14 and younger. The CDC, too, recommends taking part in formal swimming lessons and keeping up basic swimming skills throughout life.
Additionally, for every one person that drowns, another five have to receive emergency room care for submersion-related injuries, which can “...result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning.” Not only is it the leading cause of injury-related child death, but it’s the leading cause of all deaths in children ages 1-4 other than birth defects.
At Waterworks we provide lessons for all ages and levels starting early in life - Parent and Me, from three to thirty-six months old, helps young children to learn to react to being in the water, while providing an opportunity for the parent to teach and interact with their loved one. Our instructors create an engaging and fun learning environment, teaching a variety of skills such as rollover breathing, independent submersion, and back floating in a safe environment. Children can then transition into private or semi-private lessons and swim camp, where children learn to swim longer distances. We also present in our local communities on the importance of water safety in an effort to help children identify and prevent water related emergencies.
In America and other high-income countries, children aged one to four are statistically most likely to drown in a pool, often in preventable circumstances. Many times, it is from overestimating their ability, lacking water survival skills, or lacking proper supervision. Even more worrying is that just under half of child drownings happen within a pool’s length of an adult, and about ten percent will witness but not recognize it.
The reason for that is because most of the time, the Hollywood-esque flailing the arms and screaming for help doesn’t happen. Drowning is a silent killer, and sometimes there can be almost no splashing, waving, or screaming of any kind. When it reaches that stage, those supervising have less than a minute to react. Swim lessons are considered an essential part of water safety, and experienced and trained instructors can be vital to risk prevention.
This is not to say that swim lessons are the only protection necessary against drowning - it’s important that even out of the classes children get proper supervision when in and around water, and with toddlers it’s important to remember the rule of “touch supervision” - an adult with swimming skills keeping within an arm’s length of the aspiring swimmer. It’s also important not to leave a child alone or in the sole care of another child when around water, and for the supervising adult’s focus to stay on the child instead of other activities.
We hope that you and your loved ones have fun and stay safe this summer by the poolside and at the beach!