santa cruz swim lessons for babies
May 2019

Swimming Lessons Save Lives

The sooner you get them educated the better

By Tiffany Harmon

The stark truth is this: drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1 – 4  and is the second leading cause for children 1 – 14 after motor vehicle crashes. Unfortunately, many children are at risk due to low, or no swimming ability, and the risk is even higher for minority children. 

These statistics, while frightening, are extremely relevant for us, as residents of the Monterey Bay Area. We are incredibly fortunate to live in an area that is home to amazing ocean views, wildlife, and opportunities for recreational activities like surfing, swimming, kayaking, boating, and much more.

santa cruz swim lessons for babies

Whether or not you plan to head to the beach, water is all around us – in rivers, lakes, drainage ditches, bath tubs, and even large puddles. By providing your child with the lifesaving skill of swimming, you’ll be giving him/her access to the fun, fitness, and future employment opportunities water can provide!

The good news is that studies have shown that swim lessons and water safety instruction saves lives. According to the USA Swimming Foundation, there is an 88% reduction in risk if a child takes swimming lessons.

Swim Lessons Teach More Than Swimming

Swim lessons aren’t just about learning the strokes – they serve as a way to introduce your child to the water, help them feel comfortable in the water, and teach them water survival skills and basic water safety – all essential aspects of staying safe in and around water.

Did you know that children can take swim lesson before they can even walk? Parent and child swim lessons are a fun way to bond with your child while learning essential water safety skills. In fact, early exposure to swimming lessons and water safety are a terrific foundation for a lifetime of swimming for fun and fitness.

Older swimmers  – and non-swimming adults –  benefit from water safety instruction too. It’s never too late to learn, and a caring instructor can help you overcome any negative experiences from the past. In addition, swimming is an incredible activity for children with special needs, be they behavioral or developmental. A good swim instructor will create a positive learning environment and safe place for each swimmer.

Finding the Best Swim Instruction for Your Child

One of the most effective ways of finding a good swim instructor is word of mouth. Ask fellow parents whom they recommend, but don’t stop there. Just as each child is different, each swim school is different. Visit local facilities to see how lessons are run, ask questions about teacher certification and experience, and gain an understanding about the provider’s philosophy about skills progression and short and long-term learning outcomes.

All reputable swim schools should adhere to industry best practices such as:

  • Following a nationally recognized learn-to-swim curriculum (e.g. Red Cross) or an independently developed learn-to-swim curriculum
  • Using only trained/certified instructors and lifeguards holding current CPR and First Aid certifications
  • Lessons with a maximum 6:1 student-to-instructor ratio

Ready to Get in the Water?

The USA Swimming Foundation created a national child-focused water safety initiative called Make a Splash. Local swim instructors offer free swim lessons and water safety education to local children and families. Seahorse Swim School is proud to be one of the foundation’s local swim partners and is offering free swim lessons during water safety awareness month Saturdays: May 4 and 18 from 1-2pm.

Tiffany Harmon, owner of Seahorse Swim School holds a BA in Psychology from UCSC and holds a CA State Certified Teaching Credential in Health and Safety. Tiffany is an Instructor Trainer for the American Red Cross in Lifeguarding and Water Safety Instructor and has taught thousands of adults and children to swim since 1990.

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