Learn To Swim

Everyone should learn to swim and no one should swim alone.

The Basics

  • Participation in formal swimming lessons was associated with an 88% reduction in the risk of drowning in 1- to 4-year-old children. (Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 2009)
  • Enroll your child in formal swim lessons before the summer swim season. Most swim lesson providers offer year-round programs.
  • Choose a swim lesson provider in tune with the needs of your child. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions (e.g., cost, teaching style, ratio of students to teachers, etc.) and watch the swim lesson provider give a lesson to see them in action. Not all types of lessons suit all children. Do your research as you would when choosing a pediatrician or a child care provider.
  • VIDEO: The Best Age To Teach A Child To Swim (Jan Emler)
  • WEBSITE: Find A School (United States Swim School Assoc.)
  • BROCHURE: Choosing a Formal Swim Instructor (Mario Vittone for SwimWays)
  • BROCHURE: What if My Child is Afraid of Water? (Mario Vittone for SwimWays)
  • BROCHURE: Why All Kids Must Learn to Swim (USA Swimming Foundation)

Action Items


Dive Deeper

  • Adults who are incapable of swimming OR of swimming confidently should only take children swimming if another adult Water Guardian is present and on duty. The adult Water Guardian serves separately from any nearby lifeguards.
  • A survey by the American Red Cross showed that more 54 percent of Americans either can’t swim or don’t have all of the basic swimming skills.
  • Many places offer swimming lessons just for adults. Check with your local gym, swim school, YMCA and more (U.S. Masters Swimming) for information on adult swim lessons.

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First-Hand Stories

Brayden ZiegJoshua Collingsworth
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