swimming, and the safety with babies toddlers and your children.
It was only discovered in the 1960's that babies were able to swim independently underwater. But since then, it has been learned that it promotes self-confidence and personal development - physical and emotional. It gives your baby a calming, zero-gravity environment to move freely where they otherwise could not on land. This is incredibly beneficial to babies with Downs syndrome and cerebral palsy.
The benefits of baby swimming include; increased motor development, social skills and intelligence, increased concentration, alertness, and perceptual abilities, and improved nap time and night time sleep patterns. Babies who learn how to swim have been known to walk earlier as well, due to their increased muscle control.
It's only natural for a baby to feel comfortable and happy in the warm water. You don't have to worry about your child breathing, because they automatically hold their breath while underwater. This is called the "mammalian dive reflex". After all, they did spend their first 9 months in fluid.
If you have your own pool, it is up to you as a parent to decide when you want your baby to start swimming. There is no age limit. They can even start right after birth. Some classes however, ask that you wait until they are 3 months. Others recommend you start as early as possible. But keep in mind, the longer you wait, their confidence in the water decreases. Closer to their first year, they can actually develop a fear of water if they are not familiar with it. You should never force your child to learn if they don't want to. This will only result in a stressful situation for your child which could become a problem later on.
Don't expect your baby to start swimming like a pro right away. It takes time and patience. But even though they can't swim on the water's surface until they are about three, they can swim for short distances under the water with the help and encouragement of their parent. Have an underwater camera available to capture that special moment.
Never leave a young child unattended for even a second. Toddlers are naturally curious explorers and a second is all it takes for them to find trouble that may end in tragedy. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) 75% of submersion victims were between 1 and 3 years old. Never assume another adult is watching your children, you must take full responsibility of their safety, particularly around water. When your child goes missing, always check the water first. At social activities, designate an adult as the ?official water watcher? to help keep all the children in attendance safe from harm.
Obstacles must be put in place to keep toddlers safe around pools and water. Little ones learn new skills daily! One day they may only be able to sit, when the next day they are crawling and able to get into trouble quickly. It takes less than the time spent answering the telephone for a toddler to get through an unlocked door, get to the pool, and drown. . It is imperative that a mesh type fence completely surrounds the pool with a minimum height of 48 inches. This pool safety fence should separate your home from the pool and gates should remain locked when not in use. Take care not to provide climbable objects near the fence that would allow an adventurous toddler to climb into the dangerous pool area alone.
Door alarms, pool alarms and pool covers can also provide additional levels of protection, adding obstacles for an exploring toddler to have to get through before reaching the possible harm of submersion in the water.
Swimming safety skills
If infants and toddlers are relaxed in the water, they can hold their breath and provide parents with a few extra seconds to pick them up out of the water. As the children progress past the water adjustment stage, it is important to teach skills such as jumping in, turning around and swimming back to the side, recovering up for a breath and rolling to the back for a breath. These skills provide additional protection should an unsupervised water entry occur.