There are several myths about swimming for children. In today’s article we’ll take some of them and explain why they are not true.
Myth # 1: Children younger than 4 years old can not really learn to swim
There is a misconception that children younger than 4 years old are not developed enough to learn to swim. This old fashioned idea is inaccurate and sends the wrong message to parents: don’t bother enrolling your baby or young child in swim lessons, you will only waste your time and money – again this is erroneous. Children who start swimming as babies CAN learn to be water safe by the time they are 2 year old.
Watch how this baby learned to swim with our swim methods on YouTube
Myth # 2: Swimming in the winter can get a child sick
Germs get children sick. A low immune system can contribute to a child getting sick. Being indoor in a small place with other children who are sick can get a child sick. Taking your child swimming in the winter will not make them catch a cold. Swimming is a year round sport. And it’s especially important that children who are just learning to swim, do not stop in the winter. Consistent swim lessons are very important, so muscle memory can be formed and for swimming to become second nature.
Myth # 3: The Best way to learn to Swim is without floats
We talk about this frequently in our swimming blog articles and in our online swimming course about teaching children to swim. We do not recommend the use of water wings (arm bands), puddle jumper or bulky life vests when teaching children to swim. But not all flotation aids are alike. Some are actually very helpful in teaching children to swim.
Watch our swim methods on YouTube.
Myth # 4: Going Swimming can give children ear infections
There are two types of ear infections: regular ear infection and swimmers ear. Regular ear infection or a middle ear infection occurs behind the eardrum, whereas swimmer’s ear occurs in the ear canal. Different organisms cause these infections.
If your child is enrolled in swim lessons and gets frequent ear infections, swimming may have nothing to do with it. In fact, many pediatricians don’t see anything wrong with children going swimming if they have a middle ear infection and are on medication.
If your child gets recurring ear infections, instead of keeping them from learning to swim, try other alternatives: discuss it with an ENT specialist, to determine the root of the problem; try ear plugs molded especially for your child’s ears (you can get them from an ENT doctor), keep children’s ears dry by applying ear drops after swimming (you can purchase over-the-counter).
Covering your child’s ears with a silicone swim cap is not ideal. Water will seep into the ears anyway, but will stay trapped in there and not come out of the ears. If you use ear plugs, it’s okay to cover the ears with the swim cap – this will actually help keep the ear plugs in place. Even if a little bit of water seeps in, the ear plugs will prevent it from going very deep.
Myth # 5: Baby swim lessons are redundant
Many parents think that because babies can not perform complex arm and leg movements in the water, or hold their breath for too long, swim lessons for their babies are redundant. This can not be further from the truth. Introducing your 6 months old baby to the water is very helpful in creating a swim foundation for them so they can begin to swim earlier in life. Also, in general babies love being in the water, so this is really the best time to help them learn breath control under the water, getting used to being on their back and to back float, begin teaching them to move their arms and legs efficiently.
If your child is 1 year old and up and is not water safe yet, watch our free lessons on how to help your child learn to swim.