When should my child take swimming lessons?

Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children between 1-4 years old, and and the fifth leading cause of death among children. Children ages 4 and up should have swimming lessons.

It is vitally important that your child learns to swim at an early age to prevent the unthinkable from happening. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that nearly all children age 4 and over should have swimming lessons, based on the child’s developmental readiness, of course.

Even children ages 1-3 are at a lower risk of drowning if they have formal swimming lessons, so consider them for your toddler as well. Interestingly, there is no evidence to support that swimming lessons or water survival skills courses can prevent drowning in infants under a year of age. For all children, regardless of swimming skill level, constant supervision is a must.

The AAP recommends swim lessons as early as 1 year of age for many children as a layer of protection against drowning.

Reviewed by Dr. Kristie Rivers, September 2020


  1. I think the rescue swim lessons are amazing! My daughter learned to float on her back until reaching the side of the pool. They even made her swim in full clothing (diaper, shoes and all). Not all drowning cases happen during a planned pool day so it is important that they learn not to panic if they happen to fall in when they aren’t in a bathing suit. My daughter started taking lessons at 18 months and they have been worth every penny. 🙂

  2. My 2.5 year old just had private swimming lessons and has learned to swim independently. She was taught to jump in, turn around and swim to the side of the pool. Last week we went to the pool and she ran to the edge and jumped in despite my husband and I telling her to wait. Of course we quickly ran to the side but didn’t jump in to get her. We wanted to put her skills to the test to see if she would actually swim to the side without us and she did! Of course we are constantly supervising her but I am glad that she now has the skills to do what is needed to get her to safety.


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