Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Swimming Lessons Do Not Increase Drowning Risk in Young Children - National Institutes of Health

FINALLY, we are beginning to have some research that supports what many of us in the Learn to Swim world have believed for years. Swim Lessons do impact a child's behavior and are a factor in the fight against children drowning. The National Institutes of Health have released a study that states:

"Providing very young children with swimming lessons appears to have a protective effect against drowning and does not increase childrens' risk of drowning"

Click here to read the full press release.

Not only does this National Institutes of Health study ratify what we have been saying but it proves how right all the families in our swim schools are that have been making their choice to enroll their child in swim lessons. We have said for years that exposing children of this age to pools and other aquatic environments teaches them about the risks and also teaches appropriate behavior around pools and other bodies of water.

Now, I have a job for you. This is not about getting more swimmers in our swim schools. This is about saving lives.

Click here to view the original press release, pass the information along to your friends and say:

"If you want to take the next step in making your child safer around your pool or any body of water ---- get them swimming."

This reports states that of the one (1) to four (4) years olds who drowned in the states involved in the study, only three (3) percent had had swim lessons. These numbers and any family's pain relating to the death of a child is hard to comprehend. But we must be forthright and take our message to the streets. I am tired of battling the Oprah Show that every so often shares the American Academy of Pediatrics position on this issue that swim lessons make parents less vigilant. The average child that drowns is a two and one half year old boy. It makes no sense to me to keep those kids away from the water. We now have research that confirms our belief that sharing and developing an awareness and love of the water with our children CAN make them SAFER.

Parents also need to be involved and educated about the risks and rewards of swim lessons. It is incumbent on us as swim teachers and parents of children already in swim lessons to not only educate the child but also their parents about the benefits and safety measures relating to keeping their child safer. Swim lessons are one part of the levels of protection that start with Safer Water (gates that lock) and then move on to Safer Kids (learn to swim) and Safer Response (learn CPR).

The study highlights the need to maintain your safety standards and vigilance even for teenagers and older swimmers. One of our staff members had the best job in the world in college. She was the lifeguard for the morning practices of the University of Arizona swim team. If the national swimming champions need a lifeguard during swim workout, so does anyone in your pool, no matter their age.

So share the good news!!!! Keep your kids swimming and learning these skills to last a lifetime!

Ohhh and I am available if Oprah is looking for someone to articulate our position.


Adriana said...

I would love to see you on Oprah! :)
I am sending this to a person I "discussed" this issue with 8 years ago. They were convinced teaching their babies would make them eventually drown!

Jeff said...

My daughter is 5 months old and I can't wait to take her swimming this summer. What age do you recommend to actually begin "formal" swimming lessons?
Jeff at Splash Zones