You know that swimming is an important skill for kids to learn - in fact, most parents do. But do you how absolutely critical it is for children to learn to swim early, along with developing good water safety habits and knowing proper swimming technique?
This infographic from Mom Loves Best demonstrates just how prevalent drowning is - and tells you exactly what you need to do to keep your little one safe.
Drowning Doesn't Always Look Like Drowning
Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in the world. Drowning rates are highest for kids ages 1-4, followed by kids ages 5-9. Males are more likely to drown than females, and 75% of all drowning deaths occur in private swimming pools.
One of the reasons that drowning is so deadly is that its victims are unable to call for help. When kids are struggling to breathe and stay above water, they’re not able to yell. And drowning doesn’t look like wild, dramatic splashing - its signs are subtle including a head that’s low in the water, hair covering a child’s eyes, or the appearance of trying to swim but not moving.
The Basics Every Kid Should Learn
With all those scary statistics, you know it’s important that children “learn to swim,” but what exactly does that mean? Unfortunately, simply “learning to swim” is an unclear and incomplete goal. For kids to be safe around the water, they should be able to:
- Tread water or float for at least 60 seconds.
- Turn in a circle and be able to locate an exit.
- Swim at least 25 yards before exiting the water.
- Pull themselves out of the water without using a ladder.
- Jump into the water until they are fully submerged and be able to get back to the surface.
Swim lessons are one of the best ways to prevent drowning in children. Not only will your kids learn the essential survival skills, but they’ll also learn proper swimming technique so that their strokes are both effective and they conserve energy to prevent exhaustion. Many parents know how to swim and expect to be able to teach their kids, but the truth is that “knowing how to swim” is a completely different skill set than “teaching a child to swim.”
Other Ways You Can Protect Your Kids
In addition to putting your child in swim lessons, there are some other things you can do to keep your kids safe before they’ve got strong swimming skills. Of course, there is never any substitution for your undivided attention and supervision. But in addition to that, you can:
- Invest in a good life jacket.
- Teach children safe pool rules such as no horsing around, no running, and no dunking.
- Make sure any private pools or hot tubs on your property are fully fenced, covered, or deflated after use.
- Learn CPR in the event the worst happens - it can save your child’s life.
The Bottom Line
Water play has the potential to be such fun for kids, but it’s not without very serious risks. Let your kids enjoy it, but make sure you’re setting them up for safety and success by following some simple water safety guidelines - and ensuring they learn how to swim properly.