what is the best age to learn swimming
Pool Knowledge

What Is The Best Age To Learn Swimming?

Swimming helps strengthen the muscles and at the same time stay away from the heat. However, every year, we have kids drown. A good percentage of these cases happen in pools. With lessons and good timing, we can make this fun less fatal to younger children. As a parent, you are really determined to give your child the best world possible and swimming isn’t an exception. But then a big question hits, what is the best age to learn swimming. Well, let’s find out.

What Is the Best Age to Learn Swimming?  

For children, learning how to swim is just like learning how to walk. It goes slowly but surely. Therefore, your child should start training at a young age. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children are safe to start swimming classes beginning from the age of 1 to 5 years. 

At this age, children shall be starting their lessons and can take time to learn. You do not expect them to become competent swimmers until the age of 6 or 7.

Parents who are preparing to teach their children how to swim should attend classes beforehand. They shall be taught on the safety measures and precision to take during the training process. 

Children who are taught and know how to swim at early childhood stages are more susceptible to drowning. This might be surprising until you find the explanation behind it. Such children shall be overly confident with swimming making them take risks which increases their chances of drowning. That said, it doesn’t mean that all the children who learn and master swimming early in life shall drown. In fact, very few cases are happening nowadays.

A Reduction In The Age A Child Can Start Swimming Classes 

Earlier on in 2010, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended a beginning age of 4-5 years. However, with more research, they discovered that fewer children aged 1 and above were drowning when taking swimming lessons. 

Thereby, they reduced the starting age to 1.

The national institute of child health and human development conducted a study on the viability of swimming lessons for kids. They found out that teaching children to swim made them better at avoiding drowning than just letting them mature fast. The skills help them deal with water rather than drown helplessly. 

A Problem For The Parents

If someone promised to teach your 6 months old child how to back float, would you give in to it? The answer most parents give is capital no. 

However, survival programs like the infant aquatics ask for your trust so they can teach your child water techniques such as backstroking and worse still, underwater maneuvers. They’ve got videos showing 6 months old children doing this and at least some parents have attested to it.

Take for instance pediatrician Michael Middleton based in Orlando. He confirms to have taught a number of kids how to swim, and better still, he took his own children through the same process. He feels like as much as these lessons aren’t comfortable for the infant, they need it for their own good. He attests that, depending on the child, they can learn to back float at around 12 months. So by 12 months, you got your kiddy comfortably back floating. How does it sound for you?

However, the authorities including the CDC have distanced themselves from such studies and practices. 

It Is The Surrounding That Matters

According to Julie Gilchrist, it is the surroundings and the family of the infant that matter. Working as a medical epidemiologist for the CDC, she says that children should be introduced to swimming lessons after considering their emotional and physical readiness to swim, their surroundings, maybe their family spends a lot of time in water and boats or maybe there is a water body within your property that you think might pose as a risk to your child.

She says that depending on the type, quality, and water temperatures in a pool, it might be suitable or not for your child. She’s concerned that regular pool water has a lot of contaminants that might cause infections to the child’s fragile skin. 

What Is The Best Age To Learn Swimming? The Number Of Children Per Instructor  

If you are choosing to have a professional instructor, then the class size shall matter. How many children does each teacher have under instruction? According to Lees from the Red Cross, one teacher should handle ten or fewer learners. 

If the teacher is less experienced, then the learners under him or her should be reduced even further. During such lessons, a lifeguard should be on the watch in case of any emergency.  

How Do You Effectively Teach Your Child How To Swim?   

Your child should be willing to learn such lessons. Check out for the willingness and not force. Do not push your kid to practice something they do not want to do, it may have negative emotional effects on your child. 


Safety skills should be given priority for too young children. Teach them how to breathe under pressure and other tactics like floating on their back. Parents are also advised to join risk and safety classes as a measure of getting prepared to teach their children how to swim. 

The best thing here shall be getting prepared and confirming that your child is also prepared. I doubt whether you can start such classes for your kid if you still got the ‘but’ in you.

What Is The Best Age To Learn Swimming? Conclusion

The best age for your kid to learn swimming shall depend on his physical and emotional preparedness. While teaching your kid to swim too early might prevent drowning, it also causes stress on your child which is the last thing you want. 

Study your child and identify which swimming classes thrill them and those that they do not want. The best age, as for us, is after age 4. At this age, your child shall have developed emotionally and physically enough to subject them to swimming classes. 

Take note that regular swimming pools aren’t the best for your baby’s fragile skin.