Here's where the confusion happened. My four-year-old son then asks me if the hotel will have a cat pool too. My husband and I glance at each other to see if either one of us knows what he's talking about. The answer is obviously no. "Son, what kind of pool?" (Did we hear him right?)
He said it again, "A cat pool." O.K. so we start talking about every trip we've been on that had a pool. Were there any cat shaped pools at Disney World? No. What about at that indoor pool in Utica? No. Hmmm..
Then it hits me. "Do you mean a kiddy pool?" "Yes, mom. A kitty pool." O.K. that explains it.
My husband and I giggle and tell him we're not sure if their will be a kiddy pool and try to explain the difference between kiddy and kitty.
Our son does not know how to swim on his own yet. I am hoping he learns this summer. We have had him in swim lessons since he was a baby, but we haven't been very consistent. He'll have a lesson every day for two weeks, then he won't go swimming for months. When are kids typically able to swim on their own?
I found this headline from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
The recommendation was made to prevent drowning. As you can imagine, I wanted more information on this.
Here's my interview with Dr. Carl Baum, a member of the AAP Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention.
Dr. Baum:"I think the most important, overarching point is that members of the public, when considering swimming lessons, often seek a simplistic answer to a complex issue. The danger is that parents will be lulled into a false sense of security, believing that their children who have taken lessons are somehow "drown-proofed.""
Jen:"I saw on the AAP website that swim lessons are not recommended until 4-years-old. Why is that? Is it based on research?
Dr. Baum:"There are studies outlined in the AAP's Policy Statement, "Swimming Programs for Infants and Toddlers," (April 2000; reaffirmed October 2004) suggesting that before the 4th birthday, children ON AVERAGE do not possess the neuromuscular (i.e., coordination, strength) capacity to acquire swimming skills readily. Obviously there is some individual variation, but in general, starting children earlier (than 4 years of age) does not necessarily or reliably translate to earlier mastery of skills."
Jen:"If a child has been in swimming lessons since he/she was a baby. Is that a bad thing?
Dr. Baum:"I don't think there is any evidence that infant lessons are intrinsically harmful, unless parents believe--erroneously--that lessons "drown proof" their children, and therefore then they lower their guard when their children are swimming. There is no substitute for constant, arm's-length supervision of infants and toddlers in the water."
Jen:"Many parents are under the impression to start swimming early to get the child accustomed to the water. Is there any truth to this notion?"
Dr. Baum:"Again, data are lacking here. Getting accustomed to the water--even enjoying the experience--does not translate to safety. And there is always the possible risk that lessons may reduce a younger child's fear of water, leading them to enter the water unsupervised.
When do kids typically learn how to swim without any assistance? There really is no way to answer this question, because there is natural variation in children's neuromuscular capacity (which translates to rate of skill acquisition) as noted above. But there are other factors to consider, such as overcoming fear."
Jen:"When a parent starts swimming lessons, how often should they be?
Dr. Baum:"Once again, I don't think there are any data with which to answer this question."
Jen:"Any mistakes parents tend to make when it comes to swim lessons?"
Dr. Baum:"Yes. In addition to the misconceptions about "drown proofing," as above, I think parents make the mistake of viewing drowning as something that "just happens." In the world of injury prevention, there are no "accidents," only injuries. In other words, tragic injuries can and do occur in a probabilistic way when prevention strategies are either not used or are circumvented. A perfect example is a fence around a pool: if the fence is 3-sided, with the rear of the house serving as the 4th wall, you have potentially defeated the protection of the fence if a toddler can enter the pool area through a door in the house. Studies show that 4-sided "isolation" fencing around the pool, with a self-closing gate, should be the rule. But even this preventive strategy can fail if someone props the gate open! Conversely, parents may incorrectly view swimming lessons as a fool-proof preventive strategy, but there is no evidence to support this in younger age groups.
Jen:"Is learning how to swim an important part of development and why or why not?"
Dr. Baum:"I think it's the other way around! I think development is an important part of learning to swim."-NewsAnchorMom Jen