A study released this week* proved that participation in formal swimming lessons cuts the risk of drowning for children ages 1-4 by 88%. Remember the first time you gave your new baby a bath? That rather concerned look on their face when you lowered them carefully into the water and then that flicker of recognition, ‘oh yes, water, I floated in my warm and comforting cocoon for the previous 9 months before you ejected me in a rather forceful manner’. I remember that my two quickly came to love bath time - the amazing splash of water that they were able to create just by moving their hands and feet, such power! Such fun! Babies love the water, so it’s the best time to start them swimming.
Starting your kids in swimming lessons as infants will make them safer in the water, at a minimum it may keep them from panicking and buy you a precious 2 minutes that is the difference between life and death. Swimming is amazing exercise as well, so kiss those worries of childhood obesity goodbye. And the serious bonus for parents? Try moving through the water with your child - resistance exercise!
* A research group at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development released the study in the Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine, March 2009.
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