Throughout life, many happy memories are made around water—from summer days spent at the pool to family fishing trips and more. However, water is not without its risks: drowning is the leading cause of accidental death among children between the ages of one and four. And, considering that accidents can happen in as little as two inches of water, you don’t need to live near a body of water for your children to be at risk.

Those statistics aren’t pleasant for parents to think about, but they are necessary to know. After all, it’s our job to look out for our children. That means not only keeping an eye on them whenever you are near water, but also giving them the skills and knowledge they need to keep themselves as safe as possible. 

A more uplifting statistic worth knowing? Formal swim lessons can reduce children’s risk of drowning by as much as 88 percent. Even babies as young as three months can benefit from survival-first swim lessons—as you can experience through classes at British Swim School. With locations throughout North America , British Swim School specializes in survival-first swim lessons, focusing on water acclimation and survival techniques, before moving into stroke development. For parents, that means you can be confident your children aren’t just having fun in the water, but learning how to stay safe, too.

Here’s more about water safety tips and survival-first swim lessons…

How are survival-first swim lessons different?

Although we often think of learning how to swim as the best way to protect ourselves, water survival pulls from a different set of skills. Mastering swim strokes can come later, but for a true focus on safety, the five most important skills are…

  • How to safely enter and exit a pool using the wall: Panic can set in when a swimmer can’t find a nearby ladder or set of stairs to exit a pool. But, when a child is confidently able to enter or exit a pool using the wall, they can stay calm and get themselves out of the water without becoming too fatigued. But not all water accidents happen at the pool—and that’s why it's important to learn water survival skills that apply to any situation.
  • How to float: According to British Swim School, floating is the first skill a swimmer should master because it allows them to stay above water for an extended period of time without using too much energy. Survival-first swim students can learn to float in classes that start at three months old.
  • How to rise to the surface: In survival-first swim lessons, swimmers are instructed on how to come up to the surface in deep bodies of water. This is essential to protect children in cases where they accidentally fall into water. 
  • How to roll from your front to back: The safest position for a child in a water survival situation is on their back, which allows them to float, catch their breath and call for help. By learning how to roll from their stomach onto their back while in water, children as young as babies can help protect themselves.
  • How to swim 25 yards to safety: After mastering foundational skills like floating, rising and rolling, more advanced students can move on to developing and mastering the four swim strokes.

At British Swim School, classes are structured not only by age but also by survival-based skill levels. With small groups of no more than six students per teacher, each child gets the personalized support that will help them advance through the skills. The classes are curriculum based, meaning there are specific goals within each level, setting children up to feel a sense of accomplishment and keeping them motivated as they build on their skills.

Why are survival-first swim lessons important?

There is no replacement for attentively watching your child while around water. But the fact is that even experienced swimmers can get into trouble around water and drowning often happens in silence—not with arms flailing and gasping. With a multi-layered approach to water safety like that offered through British Swim School lessons, children develop the skills and knowledge that dramatically reduce drowning risk.

To further reinforce water safety with older kids, be sure to talk about rules, such as always swimming with a buddy and taking regular breaks. For younger children, have them wear a life jacket while in the water and take all toys out of the water while not in use. It’s also very beneficial to continue swim lessons throughout the year, not just during the summer. With year-round classes through British Swim School, you can help your child develop their water safety skills in the off-season and be swim-ready for summer.

Throughout survival-first swim lessons, there is a big emphasis on fun. Why? Because that only serves to reinforce the essential skills they are learning at the same time. By repeating activities that build on foundational water survival skills, such as back floating and rising to the surface, babies and young children can quickly learn (with help from muscle memory) how to protect themselves in water. 

With British Swim School, there are a variety of programs starting for students as young as three months. Through small classes led by instructors who are extensively trained and experienced, British Swim School sets students up to enjoy water throughout life—while staying safe. 

Find British Swim School lessons near you through the website.