Sacramento is known for our long, hot summers. We are fortunate that our part of the world is also known for access to lakes, rivers, and streams. Along with natural bodies of water, we have many swimming pools in our neighborhoods, too. With so many opportunities nearby for paddling and playing in the water, it's important to give kids the benefit of learning more about water safety and swimming.
Swimming is a great form of fun and exercise that boosts your child's self-confidence, plus--knowing how to swim is a vital survival skill. Swim lessons are one layer of vital protection when it comes to preventing accidental drowning. In fact, evidence shows that the risk of death by drowning is reduced by 88% among children ages 1-4 who have participated in formal swimming lessons. The American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends swim lessons for all children, stating that they can benefit from swim instruction as early as 12 months of age!
There are a several factors that go into choosing the best swim lessons for your child. Learning to swim is a delicate balance between teaching kids to respect the dangers of water, and also nurturing their natural curiosity and sense of adventure. Consider these five factors when selecting a swim program for your kids:
- Desired outcome. Why are you looking at swim programs? Do you live in an area where water is a safety hazard? Or do you have older children who want to improve their stroke and athletic ability? Young adults who learned to swim well as children and possess strong stroke mechanics are prepared with the skills necessary to join swim and water polo team in high school and college, compete in triathlons, and participate in water sports such as skiing and wake-boarding with more confidence. Look for a program that offers a wide variety of classes to suit your child’s needs as he or she grows.
- Instructor qualifications. Any swim program worth its salt is going to have nothing but certified instructors on hand. And not just any certified instructors--the institution that is handing out the certifications must be of the highest quality and be respected by the swim community. Currently the gold standard certifying body for quality aquatics instruction in the United States is the Red Cross.
- Class size. Large swim classes are generally not as safe or conducive to learning. Smaller class sizes allow instructors to provide more individualized attention to students. Private lessons are a great option for very young children, those in need of building specific skills, or children with special needs.
- Where are the swim instructors? Are they in the pool with the children or on the deck of the pool giving instruction during lessons? Ideally, instructors should be in the water with the kids.
- Observation. Parents should be able to observe the swim lessons, and have an opportunity to visit with their child's instructor after class if they have questions or concerns.
At California Family Fitness, we offer swim lessons in and around Sacramento for babies and toddlers, older kids, and adults, too. California Family Fitness swim instructors all receive qualified in-house certifications based on Red Cross and YMCA certifications. We offer both private and group lessons (with a maximum of 6 students per class) ranging in levels from beginner to advanced. Parents are always welcome to observe classes from our pool decks, or join in a parent-child swim class, and we're happy to share this handy guide for successful swim lessons with you.If you are looking for swim lessons near you, you are in luck because California Family Fitness provides ourselves on offering the best of the best for you and your family in Sacramento and all surrounding areas!
Please remember that while knowing how to swim is an important part of water safety, swim lessons do not "drown-proof" any child or adult. Other ways minimize the risks of drowning include four-sided fencing around water, life jackets, following posted safety rules, learning CPR, and active supervision. When it comes to active supervision, it's essential to put down your cell phone and enjoy being present as your children enjoy the fun of splashing away summer's heat.