According to the Centers for Disease Control, every day about ten people die from drowning. This is something our maritime lawyers know all too well. Of all the causes of unintentional injuries in the U.S., drowning is the fifth top cause of death.
Young children are especially at risk. The reality is that swimming lessons and swim classes save lives. One of the main reasons why so many young children die of drowning is due to their lack of swimming knowledge. Even if you don’t live near water, swimming lessons are an important life skill everyone should learn. Adults who haven’t taken a swimming lesson should consider taking one. Children of all ages can benefit from a class tailored to their needs. Even if you “know” how to swim, a class can teach you important safety lessons and make you a more efficient swimmer in the event of an emergency.
If you’re a parent looking for good swimming lessons for your child, there are definitely some qualities you’ll want to look for in an instructor and a program. A good swimming program will not only teach your child how to swim, but will also teach you water safety skills. Generally, children younger than five years of age are considered too young to have independent swim lessons. However, many schools tailor programs to adults and their younger children. These programs can teach you about how to keep your younger child safe in the water and offer safe ways you can introduce your child to the aquatic environment. A good swim program will assess your child’s skills and find a program that matches your needs.
Once your child is old enough for swim lessons, it’s important to find a group class with a good student-teacher ratio. While some children may benefit from private instruction, group classes create camaraderie and allow children to develop social skills. Most schools recommend group classes. However, you know your child best, and some children with special needs benefit from one-on-one lessons. Classes should still be small enough to allow teachers to offer children the individual attention they require. A ratio one-to-six is a good student to teacher ratio, according to Baby Center.
Before you enroll in a class, find out what the lessons will cover and make sure that the instructor is properly trained. The American Red Cross certifies instructors, as do other organizations. Instructors should also know first-aid. Ideally, you’ll want to find a class with qualified instructors who offer children time to develop skills independently in a supervised environment, with enough time devoted to proper instruction. Classes should be consistent and keep children active throughout the session.
Many schools will allow parents to sit in or observe a class. Ask the school if this is possible. Finding a program that matches your child’s needs is just as important as finding a program with qualified staff and good student-teacher ratios.
Swimming lessons not only allow children to build confidence and make new friends, they offer important skills that could save your child’s life at the pool, lake, or beach. Still, if a drowning or near-drowning accident does take place, it’s important to contact a maritime attorney as soon as possible, as you may be eligible to obtain damages, especially if the accident was due to negligence.