Swimming is a great family activity — great fun and great exercise. It’s a skill that children should master, especially here in Southern California where backyard pools, lakes and the ocean are such a prevalent part of our living environment.

Recent studies suggest that training in water survival skills and swim lessons can help reduce drowning risk for children between ages 1-4. Classes that include both parents and their children also provide a good way to introduce good water safety habits and start building swim readiness skills.  If your child seems ready, it’s a good idea to start lessons now.

However, it’s important for parents to know that there is currently no evidence that infant swim programs for babies under 1 year old lower their drowning risk.  Infants this age may show reflex “swimming” movements, but they can’t yet raise their heads out of the water well enough to breathe.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises “layers” of common sense child safety measures parents should think about when it comes to pools and water safety.  To read the latest press release from the AAP on pool safety and the importance of families learning how to swim, click here.

Here’s another terrific resource for parents of toddlers:

Remember, the most important measure of all is constant adult supervision!

For more information about swimming and water safety, click here.

Enjoy the rest of the summer.  And be safe!

Phyllis Agran, M.D.

Phyllis Agran is a practicing Orange County pediatrician, a Professor at the UC Irvine School of Medicine, and Past President of the Orange County Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Agran is a recognized national expert in pediatric injury control and prevention. She is also a member of the Irvine Unified School District's Medical Advisory Committee. Phyllis can be reached at phyllis@irvinecommunitynews.org
Phyllis Agran, M.D.