Staying safe around water involves learning to swim
Swimming is the most popular summer activity for kids of all ages. One of the best things to do to help your family stay safe this summer is to enroll in age-appropriate swim lessons. Learning how to swim, along with following basic water safety rules and recognizing potential risks, greatly reduces the likelihood of tragedy in the water.
Most children can perform basic swimming motions sometime around their first birthday and are ready for formal swimming lessons at that age. Lessons teach children first to be unafraid of water, then to float and breathe properly. The repetition used in organized swim lessons helps children be more comfortable in the water and less likely to panic. Programs like the American Red Cross Learn to Swim Program build on basic skills until a child can perform more advanced swimming techniques. Students transition from simple strokes like the dog paddle to more efficient strokes like the freestyle and backstroke. Building from simple to complex concepts in a structured environment is an effective and stress-free way to learn water safety.
Regardless of a child’s swimming ability, it is important to follow some basic precautions:
- Never swim without adult supervision.
- Always swim with a buddy; never swim alone.
- Only swim in designated areas.
- Always enter the water feet first.
- Watch out for the “dangerous too’s”: too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun and too much strenuous activity.
Contact your local Red Cross chapter to find swimming courses being offered in your area; visit the Red Cross website for more information.