- Amelia Colley, M.D., FAAP
- Philip Dawson, M.D., FAAP
- Scott Iwashyna, M.D., FAAP
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Swimming Lessons: Good Idea for Kids
Between 2000 and 2005, 6900 children died of unintentional drowning; and the younger the child, the higher the risk. Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children over 5 have swimming lessons but doesn't address the issue for younger kids. Researchers at the NIH took a look at the records of those who had drowned unintentionally, compared that to a control population, and found a significant protective effect for swim lessons in those children between 1 and 4 years old. The protective effect applied to older children too, but it definitely showed protection for the young ones. (Brenner et al, Arch. Pediatr. Adolesc. Med. 163:203-10, March 2009)
I'm not sure when Michael Phelps started taking swim lessons, but look how it protected him from drowning! Joking aside, it's obviously a good idea to teach your toddler to swim. Swim lessons alone will not guarantee prevention of drowning and you still have to be very vigilant around the pool; but maybe you'll also be going to some foreign city in 2028 to watch your child swim in the Olympics all the while keeping them safe in the water.