There’s a video going around the internet that just makes me cringe. It features a 16-month-old girl paddling around a three foot deep swimming pool. Her comfort and skill in the water are undeniable, and she clearly can float and move herself across the pool. The unsettling part of the video is the complete lack of an adult near her as she swims. It begs the question, how young is too young to swim by yourself?
At DietsInReview, we think swimming is an excellent way to not only get yourself in shape, but your family as well. It utilizes many of the muscles in the body, and is relatively low-impact. Swimming can be used as rehab, calorie burning exercise or just a simple way of enjoying the water while staying active. We all agree that swimming is good, and should be participated in by all ages.
However, that doesn’t all (or any) ages should be swimming alone. The Red Cross swimming classes start at age 6 months, with a parent or guardian in the water with the child for the entire lesson. Usually, Parent and Child Aquatics lessons are recommended until the child is 3. Then the child is moved up to Level One of the Preschool Aquatics lessons where and teacher and/or aide is present at all times.
One of the first rules of water safety is to always swim with a buddy and do not allow anyone to swim alone. That includes public
pools and lifeguarded beaches. Another big rule on the list? Never leave a young child unattended near the water. It doesn’t matter if
you are standing on the deck and your child is capably swimming, that scenario could change in an instant. What bothers me most about the video is that not only is there no one in the water with the child, but the only adult around is recording her swimming instead of watching carefully.
Water safety is no joke. Even the most competent swimmers can get in trouble in the water. Teaching young children to swim is a great way to ensure trouble is less likely, but staying near a child swimming is an even better way.