Between 18 months and 3 years, you will be able to teach your child some simple water safety rules, like waiting for an adult supervisor before entering the pool and walking carefully around a pool side.
Keep in mind that swimming lessons will not ensure your child is totally water safe, so water confidence classes and introducing water safety rules will help them to play safer.
From 3 years onwards your child can begin formal swimming lessons. Like any learning experience, children should be encouraged to learn at their own pace. Allow them to experience the water and gain confidence in one aspect before progressing to another.
Keep in mind that lessons and being able to swim do not prevent your child from drowning.
If you are uncomfortable about teaching your child to swim yourself, check with your local swimming pool. Many swimming pools hold swimming lessons for young children. Visit the swim school before your child starts lessons, meet the teacher and discuss any issues which may affect your child’s lesson.
Ideally there should be a shallow pool for babies and toddlers and its temperature should be comfortable for young children.
Flotation devices are not lifesaving devices, so stay with your child when they are swimming in the pool.
For further information and resources, please contact Water Safety New Zealand, phone (03) 366 4718, (04) 801 9600 or (09) 309 4596.