Texas Living

5 Swimming Lesson FAQs

By Kristy Alpert 5.10.17

Before you dive in the pool to cool down, make sure you start by brushing up on your and your family’s swimming safety knowledge and skills, especially if this summer marks your Texas tot’s graduation from the kiddie pool to more adult waters.

1. Are Your Kids Old Enough? 

Children can safely take swim lessons as early as age 1, according to the American Association of Pediatrics, although children are not ready to learn stroke techniques until their motor skills are more developed, typically around age 4.

2. Do They Need Swim Classes or DIY Lessons?

Formal swim lessons may be the safer route, even though do-it-yourself swimming lessons are an affordable and convenient option. Some studies suggest that participation in formal swimming lessons was associated with a reduction in the risk of drowning in young children. While do-it-yourself lessons may seem pretty straightforward, keep in mind that swim instructors are oftentimes certified and go through extensive training before they’re able to instruct your children.

3. What Should You Look for?

Finding a quality swimming school or coach is the first step in ensuring your child’s safety in the water, and the best place to start is by finding a school or coach near you that’s been certified by either the American Swimming Coaches Association or the United States Swim School Association. There may be free or reduced-cost options available from your local YMCA, USA Swimming chapter, or parks and recreation department. Private lessons are ideal, with one child per instructor, but an average class ratio of five students to one instructor is acceptable for swim classes ages 3 and up with the use of personal flotation devices (PFDs).

4. What PFDs Do They Need? 

There are a wide range of PFDs that can match your child’s skill level, but keep in mind that a personal flotation device is never a substitute for parental guidance and supervision or a child’s ability to swim. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends sticking with life jackets when it comes to keeping your kids safe in the water as air-filled or foam toys (e.g., water wings, pool noodles, inner tubes, etc.) can deflate or puncture.

5. What Other Supplies Are Needed?

In addition to PFDs, there are tons of great swim products on the market that will help your child enjoy his or her time in the water safely, including:

  • Swimming vests
  • Kickboards
  • Swim fins
  • Swim belts
  • Goggles
  • Water shoes
  • Earplugs
  • Swim caps

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