We've all seen photos and video of chubby babies paddling in aquamarine pools, looking for all the world like adorable cherubs, but don't be fooled: these little ones are not learning to swim. Instead, they are learning to enjoy the water.
Babies, with their high percentage of body fat, pretty much float, which leads some parents to believe they can swim, which they cannot. Babies and toddlers don't mix with pools, lakes, and oceans unless they are extremely well supervised.
Have fun with your little ones in the water but never let them out of your grip! Even if they wear flotation devices such as tummy rings or arm floaties, they should never be more than an arm’s length away.
Are Infant and Toddler Aquatic Programs Helpful?
Parents who sign up for aquatic programs for their babies should know that these are not swimming lessons. But they can be loads of fun!
During the sessions, the tots need to be accompanied at all time by an adult. The time spent in the pool will do a lot to teach your baby to enjoy the water and ready her for lessons when she turns four or five — the age when experts agree kids are ready to learn.
Well-run programs for babies and toddlers never encourage parents to force their kids to submerge their faces in the water or do anything that frightens them. Instead, the program should be a pleasure for both parent and child, with a lot of games, singing, and gentle splashing.
Because a child completes an aquatic course does not mean he is safe around the water. He still needs close adult supervision around any body of water - even inflatable baby pools and bathtubs.
Despite some belief to the contrary, these programs do not guarantee your child will learn to swim more quickly or better than a child who does not partake. But, an aquatic program may mean your child is less fearful of the water than a youngster with no experience in pools or lakes.
Additionally, aquatic programs should teach parents valuable safety practices. Drowning is the second most common cause of infant and toddler death in the country - and in Florida, Arizona, and California and other warm-weather regions, it is the number-one cause.
If you take care, you and your tot can enjoy the water anytime, anywhere.