Drowning is one of the leading cause of death for children ages 1-4 year. Even near drownings can leave many children with with permanent brain damage due to drowning accidents. With such statistics, it is of little wonder that an increasing number of parents are signing up their children, as young as three, for swimming lessons. While the parents are not looking for the next swimming star, they cited a common reason for pushing them to learn swimming early so that they will be able to gain an important life skill.
Why Learn to Swim
They are not far off the mark. Researchers found that by introducing swimming lessons, they reduce the risk of drowning by up to 88%.
When swimming lessons are conducted, they are usually taught the swim-float-swim technique.
The goal for the combination of swim and water safety lessons for the 1-4 year old is for them to learn a swim-float-swim technique used worldwide to prepare the child for an emergency situation. When the child falls in the water, he is trained to hold his breath, kick to the surface and then roll over onto his back where he can rest, breathe and scream for help. Then he rolls in a horizontal position back onto his stomach and continues a swim-float-swim sequence until he reaches the safety of the wall or steps. There are inspiring true stories of children saving themselves in a near-drowning because they learned this technique or have been taught to grab for the wall or kick to the steps for safety.
The Benefits of Learning to Swim Early
A child is best introduced to aquatics below the age of one as they have usually have lesser negative attitudes towards water. When babies are introduced to water in the bathtub at the age of 3-4 months, tactile simulation from water resistance encourages great muscular and neurological development as water has 600 times the resistance of air. When the child receives great tactile simulation, the more interconnections and neural pathways are formed in the brain cells.
A study conducted found that early water stimulation helps the child develop in three aspects: physically, mentally and emotionally. In fact, they found that children who swam consistently from infancy (three months) were significantly stronger and more coordinated when tested at 2, 3 and 4 years as compared to children who were non-swimmers. Their IQ increased and they were able solve more problems – this translated into better academic grades. They were also more self-disciplined with greater self-control and an increased desire to succeed. The consistent goal setting and skill achievement in swimming can help them feel great about themselves as they have fun splashing around.