Have you heard of Swim Safe? Swim Safe is a free programme of outdoor swimming and water safety lessons for 7-14 year olds held every summer across England. Get your child involved here.
Drowning is still one of the most common causes of accidental death in children, a shocking fact that we are reminded of on what feels like a daily basis by the newspapers at the moment, so being able to swim is an essential life-saving skill.
Swimming for babies
One of the most frequently asked questions by parents is: How old should my child be before they start swimming?
In truth, the earlier you start the better. While you won’t be able to take them in the pool for a few months, it is important that you start raising your child’s confidence in water from their first bath right through to their first dip in the pool.
Splashing them with water, but ensuring you are making it into a fun experience, is one great way to get your child started.
The ASA (Amateur Swimming Association), England’s national governing body for swimming and aquatics, recommends that you start your child learning to swim from as young as 6 months. Many leisure centres provide swimming lessons especially for parents and babies
Other reasons why your child should learn to swim
Swimming is lots of fun for people of all ages and children especially love getting in the water and enjoying themselves.
- Swimming keeps your child’s heart and lungs healthy, improves strength and flexibility, increases stamina and even improves balance and posture
Another great thing about swimming is that children of any age or ability can take part and it is more accessible for children with additional needs than almost any other sport.
- Swimming provides challenges and rewards accomplishments, which helps children to become self-confident and believe in their abilities
- Your child will have plenty of opportunities to make friends and grow in confidence
But health, fun, and confidence are not the only reasons why your child should learn to swim. Learning to swim also opens up the door to a range of other activities.
A few sports your child can only do if they can swim
- Scuba diving
Learning to swim is a skill that once learnt is rarely forgotten and it is open to people of all ages. There are even swimming events for people over 100, and a few Masters swimmers who are still swimming past this age.
Swimming is for everyone
The best thing about swimming is that it is suitable for all ages and abilities. It is a great way to recover from long term illness or injury as it is a non-impact sport.
When you are in water, up to 90% of your bodyweight is supported. This makes swimming ideal for disabled people looking to get involved in sport, or just wanting to get out and socialise. Water provides a freedom for disabled people to do things that they may not otherwise be able to do on land.
Swimming increases confidence and helps to improve concentration and to build on motor skills, so if you have a child who is learning disabled, taking to the pool or getting involved with swimming lessons can help to give them an outlet.
Find a pool near you, visit www.swimming.org/poolfinder
“Remember, you can’t always be there. Learning to swim may save their life one day”