When to Start Swim Lessons for Kids

Kids in the pool with their swim instructor
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We’ve mentioned several times that child swim lessons should be a part of creating a safer pool in your home. While our ASTM-compliant safety barriers are perfect for child pool safety, barriers alone aren’t enough. Swimming pool safety takes is not a passive exercise. It takes diligence, perseverance, and making sure everyone is doing their part to create a safer environment around your pool area. While the focus is on the responsibilities of the adults of the house, kids can also play a big part in their own pool safety. That’s where child swim lessons come in.

Educate to Avoid Emergencies

Swimming lessons aren’t to get your short swimmers ready for the Olympics. They’re meant to give them the basic skills they need to help prevent accidental drowning when they’re at friends’ pool parties, visiting the lake with relatives, or just enjoying your home’s backyard oasis. Swimming classes offer a structured environment where experienced swimmers and swimming professionals can help guide the development of your child’s skills. While you should never make the mistake that children who’ve had swimming lessons can’t down, you can be sure that they’ve worked hard to develop the skills that make it less likely.

Not All Child Swim Classes Are The Same

You need to choose the right class to deliver the kids’ pool safety instruction that your child needs and that they’re ready to understand and put to use. Children mature at different ages, and so do their skills. A child who develops swimming proficiency early won’t get as much from a lower-level class, while a novice swimmer might not understand the lessons of advanced swimming classes. While we’re going to talk about some broad age ranges to start your child’s swim lessons and set them on a path to pool safety, kids should only be enrolled in classes that are appropriate to their development level. Check with local organizations or the American Red Cross to see what classes are available in your area.

The Early Years

Infant Swimming Lessons

Infant swim class with instructor gently pouring water on infant's head

Babies and infants may make reflexive motions in the pool that look like swimming, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to swim quite yet. Most infants lack the strength or motor control to raise their heads from the water on dry ground or in the pool, making it impossible for them to breathe. Instead, child swim classes for the youngest children focus on increasing comfort and confidence in the pool with touch supervision from a parent, guardian, or another relative. These classes let them experience the fun they can have in the water and help them get used to the new sensations and body movements they’ll eventually use to swim. 

Water Survival Skills

Often starting with older infants, water survival courses aren’t based around teaching kids swimming–the intentional movement of themselves through the water–but rather self-preservation. Children are taught how to stay calm, orient themselves in the water, maintain a surface float, and alert nearby adults that they are in distress. Along with classes meant to improve children’s comfort in and around the water, they make the perfect stepping stones toward safer kids’ pool habits.

Pre-School Swimming Lessons

Not every kid will be ready to learn real swimming skills at a very young age, but if they’ve taken to the water and seem comfortable, you can start them in classes that will teach them the basics. At this age, the instructor-to-student ratio should still either be very high or involve the parents partnered with their children to be a hands-on part of the learning process. They’re likely to learn a few basic swimming strokes as they continue getting more comfortable in the pool.

Learning For Life

School-Age Child Swim Lessons

Many kids in swim class holding on flotation devices with their instructor in front of them

By the time a child is 4-5 years old, they’re ready to start learning to swim for real. This includes some basic swimming strokes and techniques that let them have plenty of safe fun around the water. Swimming lessons help improve kids’ pool safety and get them ready to play games, get exercise, and splash around with their friends, while you get peace of mind that your child has been trained to handle themselves in the water.

Advanced Skills for Teens and Young Adults

As children age, they’re ready for more advanced swimming techniques. These classes include more complex water movements and a heightened focus on not just their own safety but also on being more aware of the safety of those they share the water with. These classes are meant for bodies that are larger, stronger, and more coordinated than when the children learned basic skills in their child swim classes.

Water Safety and Rescue Classes

Strong swimmers, scouts, and teens who are interested in military service or becoming a first responder often choose to take their swimming training further. Water safety, rescue, and lifeguard classes teach advanced swimming techniques and skills meant to save lives. From CPR to first aid and pulling at-risk swimmers to safety, these classes prepare your child to face emergency situations calmly with the knowledge and skills they need to make a difference.

Protecting Kids From Themselves

No one is drown-proof. Make sure you’re working to prevent unsupervised access to your swimming pool. Even the best swimmers can find themselves in dangerous situations, and children don’t always have the best judgment when it comes to safety limitations. Install pool safety barriers that help prevent accidental drownings on your property.

  • Removable Mesh Pool Fence – Mesh pool fence creates a secure perimeter around your pool to keep children and pets away from the water, making it a priority for kid pool safety. It deters climbing, has minimal gaps that can’t be pushed through by small bodies, and uses a self-closing, self-latching gate to make sure there’s no easy path to entry when you aren’t around. Adults can easily open the gate or even move the fence aside so they can practice what they’ve learned in their child swim class. 
  • Swimming Pool Safety Covers and Nets – Safety pool covers and nets are anchored around the edge of the pool and can support the weight of a full-grown adult. Once installed, these rip-resistant barriers stretch taut over the surface of the water, preventing entry and holding potential drowning victims above the surface where they can be helped to safety.

Your Local Pro is Ready to Help

Our team of local independent installers is ready to help you create a safer pool that meets your responsibilities as a pool owner and gives you the security of knowing your pool is protected. When you request a no-cost, no-obligation quote, they’ll take measurements, talk to you about your expected pool needs, and give you a written estimate on protecting your friends, family, and pets. Get started today. Schedule a visit from your local All-Safe Installer.

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