A recent journal by the American Academy of Pediatrician recommends swimming lessons to prevent drowning in children. This journal was published last March 2019 at their online website, www.aap.org, entitled, “Prevention of Drowning”. According to the association, there were roughly 1,000 children a year who dies of drowning, and drowning is still the leading cause of injury death from one to four years old of age according to the latest journal of the organization.
There was also a Canadian study by Parker and Blanksby entitled “Starting age and aquatic skill learning in young children: Mastery of prerequisite water confidence and basic aquatic locomotion skills”. That study reported that children at the age of four can have mastery of water confidence and basic aquatic locomotive skills already. At 5.5 years of age, a child may be able to do front crawling remarkably. That is how young a child can readily learn to swim.
But how young is too young for a baby to learn swimming lessons? How effective is it for a baby to learn swimming?
The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrician) recommends that all children above one-year-old should learn to swim for it’s an important skill and it builds confidence. The co-founder and COO of Fitness Alive Philly, who started swimming classes for kids at 5 months old, have noticed that kids learned the mechanics of swimming quickly when they are confident. And due to swimming lessons, the babies would learn to blow bubbles on water, kick strongly and float on their backs. Eventually, they can learn to pull themselves out of water.
Balance and Movement Development Research from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) showed that babies who had swimming lessons have better balance and better grip than non-swimmers. The study was issued in May 2010 entitled, Child: Care Health and Development. This study started with 19 baby swimmers and 19 non-swimmers.
The baby swimmers had swimming lessons from age 2-3 months until 7 months. They were undergone series of exercises and pool activities with their parents. Up until 5 years old, these baby swimmers then turned to be good at swimming.
When being compared with the toddlers that are non-swimmers, the study has shown that the swimmers were the best with the exercise activities relating to balance and movement. The study showed that giving lessons to younger children would greatly affect their development and produces good results as they grow up. Specific training has an effect later in life.
Good for the heart and lungs
The heart and lungs of a baby swimmer are being kept strong with swimming. Swimming improves its strength and flexibility and increases their stamina. In fact, several studies have shown that swimming may increase the mortality rate.
A study by the Indiana University Bloomington’s Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming found that swimming may slow down aging by decades. Their study was based on the traditional age markers such as blood pressure and lung function. With that, they found out that swimmers have strong lungs and good stamina, giving increase mortality rate to a person. So if swimming lessons start at a young age, all the more the increase in mortality rate.
A study in Australia by the Griffith University in Australia published in the online journal portal, the Griffith news revealed that children who swim are more advance in physical and mental development compared to their peers who don’t swim. This study was done to 7,000 children by the University.
It also showed that 3-5 years old who started swimming class at 11 months were ahead of the verbal skills, six months ahead in math skills, and two months ahead in literacy skills. In addition to that, there was a noted 17 months ahead in story recall and 20 months ahead in directions.
Better self-esteem and greater self-control
A German study by the Academic Achievement and Physical Education entitled “Early Motor Stimulation and Personal Development” showed that children at the age of four to six year old had greater self-control, stronger desire to succeed and are more comfortable in social situations than the non-swimmers. Thus, suggesting that swimming lessons must start at a younger age.
Swimming has its challenges and rewards and helps children to believe more in their abilities. So at an early age, it is best to teach baby to swim, because parents may not always be there to watch. Thus learning to swim earlier, may save their life in the future.