(StatePoint) National Learn to Swim Day is Saturday, May 19, and parents across the country are gearing up to get their children out of the house and into the pool. It’s important to teach your kids to swim early on, as progressive learning will help them develop skills that will last a lifetime.
According to the Red Cross, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years old. A child should never be left unattended in or around the water — even in your home pool, where statistics show toddlers are most susceptible.
Learning to swim is not only a necessary safety measure; it’s also a fun physical activity that families can enjoy together.
SwimWays, the creator of the Swim Steps program that helps kids learn to swim, is sharing four simple steps to help you introduce your children to the water, and set the stage for a lifetime of swimming:
• Get your child comfortable in the water at an early age. You can introduce babies to the water using a baby float. The SwimWays Baby Spring Float for example, has a mesh play space for toys and splashing. Teach them that the water is a fun place to play.
• Explore the water with your child using swim-training aids specially designed to help parents teach kids to swim. The Swim Steps line includes the Swim Sweater and Swim Vests that will comfortably help your little one balance and paddle — two important pre-swimming skills.
• Once your child is ready to learn to swim, use a graduated flotation device, such as the Power Swimr, to allow him or her to develop swimming abilities at his or her own pace. Be sure to keep an active eye and supervise at all times!
• While you may feel your little one has the skills to swim without help by now, remember it takes a lot of courage to traverse the water alone.
It’s often beneficial for a child to ease into swimming with a bit of extra support before taking their first solo strokes. Kids can use kickboards as they begin to master their swimming skills and gain the confidence needed to swim successfully.
You can find information and ways your family can participate in National Learn to Swim Day at www.TeachMeToSwim.com. Before you know it, your child will be a fish in the water!