Babies in the Deep End: Can Infants Learn to Swim?

Image via Flickr/ Webb Zahn

The summer solstice is behind us, so, yes, it is now officially summer. And beyond popsicles, sunburns that yield blisters, sleepovers on the trampoline, and grass stains on the heels of your feet, spending the day nearby, in, or somewhere near the pool is the quintessence of summer. (Except for me. I hate swimming. The whole taking your shirt off thing is probably my least favorite thing on this earth.)

But these posts are not about me—they're about the general public. And I would say that the general public likes swimming. And among those of the general public are kids. Little kids. I don't go to the pool all that often, but when I do, the little people can be seen sitting on the edge of the pool, kicking their legs and splashing water everywhere.

Oh, what joy.

Until the little people fall in. With multiple little people that parents have to keep their eyes on, there is a slight chance that the second you turn around, your baby slips into the water. 

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An average 10 people die per day from drowning—two of these deaths are of children under the age of 14. That number may not seem significant, but think of the two families that have to deal with the heartache of the death of a child.

Yes, parents need to keep their eyes on the littlest their fishes, but, like I mentioned before, there is typically more than one child  that is in need of your watchful eyes. 

So, something you can do is arm your children with the ability to swim. Yes, even your little 6-month-old. 

Infant Swimming Resource, a nationwide organization the teaches children survival swimming, offers swimming lessons for kids. On their website, they've got a few videos that show little people not necessarily swimming, but using the skills that they've been taught to avoid drowning.

ISR's Roll-Back-to-Float Sequence from Infant Swimming Resource on Vimeo.

I'm not going to lie, watching the 6-month-old kids floundering around under the surface makes me a little antsy, but it seems that if they have the training and they understand what to do in the case if falling in the water, they're actually pretty calm. They are taught to regain composure while under the water and then float on their backs, waiting for someone to help them out. 

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If you have any interest in teaching your really young children pool safety, give their website a look. You can also find some of the ISR locations that are nearest to you. 

What do you think? Would you try these lessons or do you have a different approach to swimming and water safety?  

What do you think?

Babies in the Deep End: Can Infants Learn to Swim?

Jace Whatcott is a self-diagnosed introvert who loves crossword puzzles, golf, and reading. Despite being a male contributor—one of the few on this particular website—he is not in unfamiliar territory. Because he is an English major, 90% of his classmates are females, so he’s not too worried about being a fish out of water. One of his favorite things to do is to raid local thrift stores for used books. He’s always looking for something to read, or for something to put on his endless to-r ... More

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  1. nickki says:

    Now that i no about it im singing my son up he is only 3months but when he is 6 months we will start i have a six year old that just learned to swim and i wish I would of tought him early

  2. Kim says:

    It does work and it is incredible. My children started as floaters in the Infant Aquatics program ( as floaters at 8-1/2 months (my daughter was barely 14lbs at the time). While it was a little difficult and intense to watch your kids learn to turn themselves over and float and then to do it fully dressed, it was also amazing. My kids continued on with the program and at 1 year learned to swim. It works, the first summer after taking lessons, my daughter slipped on the stairs of our pool, fell in and while my husband and i were right there and could have grabbed her, we wanted to see if the lessons worked and they did. She flipped herself over, took a breath and then turned over and swam to the side of the pool (she was a little over a year at the time). My kids love the water and pool and are 2-1/2 and never had to use floats or swimmies or anything to help them swim. They are amazing and it is great to watch them love the water and know that they are safe. We still take group “Fun day” classes with Infant Aquatics to keep the kids skills fresh. Totally worth the money and time to invest in your children’s safety and love swimming.

  3. sweety says:

    Ya it sounds good but how much practical it is I dnt know?


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