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Early Swimming Gives Kids an Edge

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Did you know that children who learn to swim at an early age have significant advantages over those who don’t? - Kelly Whittemore, Swim Life

Did you know that children who learn to swim at an early age have significant advantages over those who don’t?

When children take swimming lessons between the ages of one and four, the risk of drowning is decreased by 88 percent. Children who know how to hold their breath, turn around to reach for the steps or wall, swim without the aid of flotation devices, and roll over to a back float have a much better chance of surviving a fall into the water than those who have limited experience in the water. The number one reason to get your baby swimming early is drowning prevention. After all, drowning is one of the leading causes of death in babies and children under the age of four, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

The benefits of learning to swim early, however, go beyond the essential goal of drowning prevention. Research has proven that early swimmers reach physical, cognitive, and emotional developmental milestones ahead of children who do not swim before the age of five.

Physical Development
Early swimmers have more advanced large and fine motor skills than other children their age. Balance, coordination, and the ability to grasp objects is improved. Because water is 600 to 700 times more resistant than air, the water resistance helps build muscle strength. Swimming is a gentle exercise that works the whole body, encouraging a baby’s lung and heart development. Early swimmers also have increased hand-eye coordination and better spatial awareness. They are more adept with tasks such as coloring inside shapes, drawing lines, and cutting paper.

Cognitive Development
Toddlers who start swimming at an early age are, on average, 20 months ahead of non-swimmers in their ability to understand and follow instructions, and up to 15 months ahead of their peers in math, counting, language, and reading by the time they start school. Early swimmers also show better recall when told a short story. It is believed that the stimulation of water resistance over most of the body not only leads to better physical development, but also stimulates brain development. Completing complex movements in the water while balancing the body activates both hemispheres of the brain simultaneously. A healthy, stimulated brain increases ease of learning, performs better academically, and improves language skills.

Emotional Development
Early swimmers are more independent, adapt better to new situations, and have greater self-confidence than children who do not learn to swim early. Learning new skills in swimming lessons gives your baby a sense of accomplishment. Early exposure to learned skills helps children to be more willing to try new things. Lavishing praise on your child as they begin to master their swimming skills is great for creating attachment, bonding, trust, and connection. 

Swimming can also help create a healthy metabolism. Gentle exercise in warm water helps with a healthy appetite and can improve sleeping patterns. If swimming will help your baby eat better and sleep longer, need I say more?

Kelly Whittemore is the owner of Swim Life, an award-winning, innovative swim school focused on drowning prevention and water safety for all ages. To contact Kelly or for more information on water safety, email Info@MySwimLife.com, call 407-878-4352, or visit MySwimLife.com.


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