SEATTLE - The summer swimming season is here, and the American
Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
has revised its guidelines on how to
keep children safe around water. The AAP
has long recommended
swimming lessons for children ages four and older, and new evidence
suggests kids between the ages of one and four could benefit from
Dr. Denise Dowd, who is an emergency-room physician, served on the
committee that helped create the guidelines.
"It's not that the AAP
recommends swim lessons for kids under
four years of age, but suggests that parents consider it."
Dowd says parents should base their decisions on their children's
physical abilities, gauging their fear of the water, along with how
frequently they're exposed to the water.
Dowd points out that swimming lessons alone are not a complete
prevention. She says supervision is equally, if not more, important.
"It's not just one thing that helps prevent drowning; it's actually
multiple layers of things. And that's really the take-home message for
parents, is that they think in terms of layers of protection."
While drowning deaths have declined nationwide over the last 20 years,
they remain the second-leading cause of unintentional death for children
ages one to 19.AAP
advice is at www.aap.org