Swimming: Necessary skill or too dangerous?

Some moms view swimming as a necessary life skill their children must learn, while others think it's too dangerous and should be avoided all together. And some in the middle could take it or leave it as a hobby their kids may or may not like. Where do you fall on the spectrum? Why?

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40  Answers

1 13

I have been a lifeguard and swim instructor for a very long time so I have always thought it to be a necessary skill. But I never knew the best way to explain to people why I thought it was so important especially when their kids wanted to do other sports instead of taking swim lessons, until someone said this to me: "Your kids will never fall into a soccer game and not survive. They could, however, fall into a pool and not survive."

27 12

Both my kids went for swimming lessons for about 2 years before they started Primary. I'm lucky that at their school the first semester they have swimming lessons too by a professional company once a week and once a week just with their teacher. When they know the basics of water safety etc, they learn faster and are more confident. My 9 year old is now like a fish in the water and I think my 5 year old will follow by end of the first term next year ;) But do make sure they know water is dangerous, to be confident, but not cocky

2 8

What a ridiculous question!!! ALL children should learn to swim.

99 5

Maybe she was never taught to swim she has a right to post this question.

2 8

Agreed that some people do not have the opportunity to learn how to swim. My response was to how the question was posed "Necessary Skill or too Dangerous? It is far more dangerous not to learn to swim (if given the opportunity :)

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12 35

My brother died in a pond when he was close to 3 years old. that was like over 10 years ago...ever since then I educate children to learn how to swim and educate people to be watchful of things because anything can happen.

So to answer to that: I tell my kids they MUST know how to swim even if they may not want to...its nesescary to survive if we go out boating or something...i think we are responsible to teach them that...and besides..its a wonderful wonderful skill you can use it to excercise. My youngest child is 9 months old she enjoy being in the water...so i am not going to start teaching her to swim til shes at least 2 years old. my son is 2 and half years old...im doing some stuff to teach him... its fun..but nesescary! yet...need to be watchful!

5 54

As a Water Safety Instructor and a Mom I have to say that I think it is very important to teach kids how to swim. Yes swimming can be dangerous but usually that is for those that don't know how to swim. Obviously it is more dangerous for anyone swimming in a river or open water where there are rip tides, etc. However, for pools and ponds and slow moving rivers without riptides or strong currents, if you know how to swim, they are pretty safe places. The way I view swimming as well as teaching swimming is that I would rather be prepared, and I would feel better knowing that my kids know how to swim as well. Yes I would love for my daughter to swim on a swim team but if she doesn't want to then that's fine with me as long as she knows how to swim. If you think about it, learning to swim is a lot like sending kids to school. Kids go to school to prepare themselves for the future. That's all swimming is, you are learning to be prepared in case someday you find yourself in the water. I'm not saying that all water accidents could be avoided by learning to swim but a majority of them could. Ultimately it's your decision as a parent but why would you want to hold them back. It's great exercise, helps develop great lungs, teaches kids to discipline themselves as well as a great way to have fun and cool down in the summer. Just be sure to stress the importance of having a buddy and to never swim alone.

13 15

Dear Circle of Moms:
Who in the he11 decided this would be a good post to make? Who are the "others" in " . . . while others think it's too dangerous . . . ." Where did you get such information? @Leni Chan makes a good point about the chemicals used in a pool (albeit I don't alltogether agree), but she's saying it's important to know how to swim, just to make sure it's the proper environment.

Ya, Circle of Moms lost a bit of credibility from me on this one.

99 5

Don't judge everyone has a right to post a question like this. Also maybe she was never taught to swim it happens.

12 8

Knowing how to swim is an important and necessary life skill. All people should learn to be safe around water, and knowing how to right yourself and tread water in the event of an accident are crucial. Your child does not need to be a competitive swimmer, but if he or she will ever be around water (friend's pool, water park, on vacation, at summer camp, a hotel pool, ANYWHERE), they need to know how to be safe.

Ironically the US Olympic team posted a video today of one of their athletes, a swimmer, who almost drown at age 5 while at a water park with his father. His name is Cullen Jones. Google him.

Local YMCA's are great places for swim lessons. They have a nationally standardized program and offer financial assistance to those unable to pay. Our children all learned at the YMCA.

Keep your child safe. Make sure your child can swim.

3 9

Believe it or not, in my 21 years of running an indoor swim program I have run across the parents who do NOT believe swimming is a necessity. In fact I had one parent SCREAM in my face that her child will NEVER take swim lessons nor will she EVER be around WATER (as in a pool, lake, pond, etc.) because there are too many problems associated with it. I was so flabbergasted by her insistence and the fact that she was IN MY FACE screaming that I just sat there, dumbfounded. I hope her child will one day even be allowed out of her house since we all live in Michigan and are within water every 6 miles......

51 0

This parent sounds like she has issues. If something happens to her child, God forbid, she will regret not having her kid take swim lessons! How sad!

8 36

wow...just wow. cant believe there would parents that could actually think that its to dangerous. is this the type of planet we live in now?

51 0

maybe if these parents put the bubble wrap on their already overly protected kids, they will float if they come across a body of water.

16 23

My daughter loves her lessons, it is good excercise and it helps them learn to respect water. If a child accidentally fell into a pool and bumped her head, swimming won't help... But knowing water and swimming lessons will help the child to not be too curios about the water and not to run around the pool.

245 2

Swimming should be mandatory in elementary schools across the world. Where I live it is mandatory from grade three to six and again in high school you can pick is as a gym elective. I started swimming from a very early age then started competitive swimming in grade two. I also coached pre-competitive and competitive swimming and was amazed at how many kids are afraid of the water. Most of them got that fear from their parents. I had one girl who wouldn't even touch the bottom at first. It should be a life skill and I know it sounds mean but you should really force your kids to learn. What happens when they go to the beach with a friend or their friend has a pool are they gonna sit it out no they will try. The world is mostly water and it can be dangerous even for those who know how to swim. I will say that I will not be putting my son in "Life Saving" class. I took those as well and most of my instructors sat on the side of pool and shouted at us. I could out swim most of the "LIfe Saving" instructors by the time I was 10.

1 4

Silly question, surely it's more dangerous if they don't learn to swim. My 2 boys age 4 & 5 both have lessons and enjoy every minute in the water.

8 13

Necessary! I think it would be more dangerous not to learn.

16 4

we started swim lessons at 6 months, the youngest our Y would allow. So important that they know how to swim! We go to a lake every summer for vacation, if he ever fell in i wanted him to be able to right himself and be able to breath until someone could get to him. They don't have to be on the swim team or even know any strokes but they should be able to rescue themselves if they fall in. And now at age 2 he loves the water!

4 31

My daughter was in our home pool with us from a few months old. She has swim lessons from 6 months and was swimming accross our pool at 18months. It was absolutley paramount to me that she learnt to swim as soon as possible. I think it is an essential life skill for everyone and particularly for those living in such areas (as we do) that will continually expose them to water and its assosiated risks. It frightens me how many children under 5 drown each year. I wonder how many of these would still be here now if they had been given the chance of swimming lessons and had been fully supervised. CLOSE THE POOL GATE!

6 8

I think swimming is a life skill, without question. It is dangerous to allow them to be untrained.

2 12

Letting your child drown is so much safer than teaching them to swim! Seriously, what a crazy notion to acertain not learning a skill is better. Ignorance is never a solution to a problem. We can only grow by being educated, in every possible manner.

51 0

It's almost as illogical as saying we are not going to allow our kids to learn how to read because they might be swayed to think a certain way....

45 13

Are you kidding me? There are people who think learning to swim must be avoided completely? Who the heck are these idiots?

All kids need to learn to swim. All kids should go to swim class and be confident swimmers. Doing so is a LIFESAVER. It's not just something fun to do when you're young - it's something you'll need as an adult. My mother-in-law can't swim and in her late 60s is afraid to be near pools alone because if she fell in she'd drown and die.

Teach your kids to swim, enroll them in classes, whatever - no excuses.

13 13

For my family it is an absolute requirement toi know how to swim.... We are an outdoorsy family and there are to many unknowns in nature to take any unnessecary chances with my family.

128 0

That's how my family is too. Not to mention Arizona is so hot that almost everyone has a pool. Here babies of all ages are in pools as soon as it gets hot and sadly az probably has the highest drowning rate in the country. So it's important to know how to swim. I wish the state would make it a law that every kid take swimming lessons so then there would hopefully be less drownings.

0 20

It is a bit of a silly question. All kids should learn to swim, we are surrounded by water all the time. I drowned when i was about 2 and a half and actually died for a few minutes. I learnt to swim before i was 3. My son (who is now 5) learnt to swim before he was 3 aswell.
It is DEFINATELY necessary.

1,645 40

It is far better to have this set of skills and never need them, than not have them and die.

19 0

My thoughts are: Why not? Swimming is only dangerous to those who do not know how to do so. It takes very little effort on the parents part to insure thier child knows as least the basics. I couldnt imagine a child saying No to a swim party or watching thier friends swim while they sit on the sidelines. How cruel to do that to a child because of a parents own fears. If they dont have time to teach them or do not have a pool., there are always local swim schools.

1 0

I think it is very important for a child to learn to swim I am starting my four year old in lessons this spring.

28 29

I think that knowing how to swim,is a necessary,survival skill.I cannot see,how it is possibly too dangerous,for children to learn how to swim,if they are learning,in the correct environment,under skilled swimming teachers,with correct supervision.If your child fell into a lake,or a swimming pool,wouldn't you like them,to have the skills,to survive? Particularly,where,I live,here in Australia,it is a necessity,to have swimming skills.If you can't swim in Australia,you would be counted,in the lesser percentage,of the population.

9 0

An absolutely essential skill. I have read too many stories of people of all ages falling into water and drowning. Some of these could have been saved if they had been able to swim. It's not just pools. it's falling in ponds, rivers, a freak wave at the seaside.

Also I recently read an article about how drowning was the biggest cause of accidental death in the UK over history. (in the past when people did not routinely learn to swim.)

I would feel myself criminally negligent if I didn't teach my kids to swim. They LOVE the pool, but I won't let them go in without me until they are confident swimmers. They are 8 and 5 and neither can swim well yet, but they can keep afloat. It's a start. As I also keep telling them they will have a lot MORE fun in the pool when they can swim.

21 3

Are you kidding?? "Too dangerous"??? It's "too dangerous" to NOT learn to swim, I'd say being unprepared and drowning because you don't know how is definitely dangerous!!!!

2 5

I live in Townsville where it is hot and we have access to many wonderful pools, beaches and creeks. How on earth could learning to swim be considered dangerous?! What's dangerous is a child who doesn't know how to swim. I feel a whole lot better knowing that if my 4 yr old should fall into a pool he will be able to paddle to the side to save himself. A skill he was taught both his parents, and was in no way dangerous when done properly and under constant supervision.
I'm a school teacher and I think it's crazy that many school age children still don't know how to swim to save themselves.

27 4

My son goes to emler swim school. I had the pleasure of getting to know Ms. Emler, her belief is every one should know how to swim. Children can start at the age of 5mo. They teach boat safety, how to use a life jacket, if they fall in, swim to the boat. Then next to the last class my all time favorite clothes line swimming. The children wear swimming clothes under their reg. clothes they can wear shoes must wear socks. This is to get the children to feel what it is like when they fall into a pool wearing clothes. In the lesson the children also learn how to jump turn and swim. This is in case they fall in so they know to swim to the edge. The children also learn how to pull themselves out of the pool. My son was almost two when he pulled himself out of the pool. If we started soon he would of been pulling out of the pool a lot quicker. Ms. Emler is the one that started year round swimming and lesson. Each student has to reach the milestones before moving up to the next class. I love Emler. I don't mind the drive for quality teaching. Emler swim school madeThe Best several for several years and she and her swim coaches deserve it. Thank you Ms. Emler for being the best. 1975
Hours Mon - Fri: 9:00 am - 8:00 pm
Sat: 8:00 am - 3:00 pm

About We are people who love kids, teaching kids to love swimming!
Description Emler Swim School is a Texas corporation that has been making waves since 1975. We are people who love kids, teaching kids to love swimming.

Emler provides a non-threatening and nurturing environment, full of creative teaching methods to ensure that every student is comfortable and confident in the water.

We currently have 7 locations serving the DFW and Austin, TX area, including:
Arlington, TX: 1920 West Pioneer Parkway summer only
Frisco, TX: 7151 Preston Road Suite 321
Plano, TX: 4621 West Park Blvd, Suite #104
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Southlake, TX: 280 Commerce Suite 180 See More
Awards Best of the DFW Metroplex 2009, 2010 & 2011
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Website http://www.iswimemler.com

27 4

I guess I love Emler so much. We went to the Y one year and it was ok. When speaking to Ms. Emler she told me she sell her lessons to the Y and other facilities. So, why not learn from her first? She tweaks the lessons and are more updated. Yeah I paying a good deal for lesson for the whole year, but nothing and I mean NOTHING can ever replace my child. He knows how to swim. She does all year round because children forget and basically the instructors have to help them remember before they can move on.

3 32

I have had my little girl in swim lessons since she was eight months old and she is now two. She has never shown fear of the water which I am so happy for! My husband and I wanted a pool, but I will not until I am comfortable that she knows what to do. We are very consistent to stop any "play" behaviors that might be dangerous. She has to be taught the rules of a swimming pool.

11 15

Lucky me. The ONLY thing my 5 year old wants to do is swim lessons. No t-ball, no gymnastics, no karate. It's great because I didn't have to convince him about it. Being from Texas where everyone has a pool I think it's essential.

1 16

we live on an island so learning to swim is a must. we also have several ponds around where we live. my daughter is 9 and now on our swim team and loves to swim. my son is 5 and cant wait to join the seim team.

38 23

Necessity! Why risk it...

7 27

Crossing the road is dangerous, but we teach our kids to do that!!! We have this wonderful program in Australia

512 54

Necessary, healthy, safety and self confidence building skill that EVERY child should have ASAP

2,093 0

Life skill for sure. I had no idea that people thought learning to swim was too dangerous. Not knowing how to swim is dangerous.

22 0

Swim swim swim absolutely it's a necessary and very important life skill. Here in NZ we have loads of water to swim in: lakes oceans rivers and pool. It's very important to swim and if possible learn to swim well.
It's great exercise means kids can enjoy loads of water based activities with confidence and may save their life one day.
Swimming is only dangerous is you don't swim and don't respect the water.
If you don't l;earn to swim properly the chances are you won't learn to respect the water properly either.

51 0

Everyone should learn how to swim! My husband had to save his friend's life because she couldn't swim in 6 feet of water! Children should be introduced to water safety, treading water, and swimming adequately as young as possible. Anyone who says they don't think it's necessary or too dangerous are either being lazy or are just plain foolish!!!!

0 0

well put this way.... is it necessary to know how to walk

21 0

I think this question should be mocked. Just as someone had the right to post it, we have the right (and I would say duty in this case) to mock it. Saying you don't want your child to learn how to swim is like saying you don't want them to learn gun safety - this is how horrible tragedies start.

108 76

Being able to swim is an absolute necessary safetey skill. Think of it as one of the individual safety skills that all kids need to master. My son started swim lessons later than most in our area. His first lessons were at 4years old. Had I had the time and opportunity, I would have enrolled him in swim lessons at 1 years old. Many of the early programs are exclusively about how you, the parent, can play safely in the water with your child, but they also include teaching your child safety skills. I was in a Mommy and me class with the youngest child I currently nanny for, and was amazed at how he could get himself in and out of the pool all by himself at a year and a half. These kinds of things matter in the overall safety of your child. Because I know that all my boys are now water safe, meaning they could fall into a pool of water and safely get themselves out, I am more comfortable sending them to friend's houses that have swimming pools. I always play it safe, teach your kids to swim.

2 0

I grew up on the beach, and I was a competitive swimmer from age 5 to age 18. I was also a lifeguard and a swim instructor. So, yes, I think swimming is a very necessary skill. But I would take my children to swim lessons, instead of picking them up and tossing them in the deep end of the pool like my dad did to me. For me, I choose swimming because we spend so much time around the water. We live at the beach over the summer, so I would rather know they can swim, and not worry quite as much, than be constantly worrying about them getting too close to the water and possibly drowning.


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