According to the Center for Disease Control, water related deaths is the second leading cause of death in children between 1-6 years old. It’s possible to help increase your child’s chances for survival, by teaching them to swim early on.
The earliest I have ever seen any classes in our area of Haverstraw New York, is age 1. The YMCA of Rockland County offers a Mommy & Me style classes once a week for several weeks.
The classes cost, depends on weather or not you are a member of the Rockland County YMCA. I have included a link at the end of the article to their membership pages with a complete list of prices for the Summer 2009 class sessions. They will achieve some basic skills with your child that will help them become comfortable around water, and to learn the difference between dry land and being in the water.
The Infant Swimming Resource is a website that can help you search for an instructor who is qualified to train your baby to roll onto their backs from a prone position in the pool. In the Rockland County area there are approximately 5 instructors who are qualified to teach this method developed by Harvey Bennett. A lifeguard who knew a child in his neighborhood who died of drowning, and became determined to teach of the kids to swim so this could never happen again. He eventually learned the nonverbal cues that help infants learn to swim. Please see the link to find a qualified instructor of this technique in your area. Classes are about $50 per lesson.
If you have access to a pool, you can teach your toddler to swim yourself, with the help of many available dvd’s and books on the subject. Please be sure to view the amazing video at the end of the article of a 14 month old baby girl falling into a pool and saving herself from drowning with the prone to back rolling technique. It is possible to teach your baby to do this on your own. Bringemup.com has a number of articles with diagrams that can help get you started on teaching your toddler to swim. Please see the link at the end of the article to view the page on teaching your toddler to swim.
It’s important to note that the American Academy of Pediatrics, cautions against teaching children under age 4 to swim. Their reasoning is that the child can swallow too much water if not properly supervised and suffer from water intoxication, and sustain injuries of possibly death.
However, the idea that your baby is naturally drawn to water and, it is the second leading cause of death in children, it is important to try to help them understand the dangers of the water. By teaching them to swim early you are helping them develop a skill that can possibly save their lives now, and bring them great joy later.
Rockland County YMCA Membership Pricing http://www.rocklandymca.org/membership/membership_fee.htm
Rockland County YMCA Swim Class Schedule for ages 1-4 www.rocklandymca.org/aquatics/ages_1_6.htm
Child Drowning Prevention 14 Month Old Baby Saves Her Own Life http://www.childdrowningprevention.com/index.html
Bringemup.com teach your toddler to swim diagrams http://www.bringemup.com/articles/64/teach-your-baby-to-swim—the-diagrams-part-1.html