(NBC News) The American Academy of Pediatrics is making a major change to its swimming safety guidelines.
The Academy now recommend kids start learning to swim around age one, three years earlier than previously advised.
Lifeguard and swim instructor Kameryn Washer agrees.
“The earlier the better,” she says. “We want them to be able to not be afraid of the water.”
At Gold Fish Swim School in Charlotte, North Carolina, lessons focus on the basics.
“We try to make it fun but they are important life-saving skills. Things like, as simple as and it’s common sense, but people don’t really understand it, just able to grip on the side of a pool, how to get out of a pool,” explains school owner Zip Harlan.
The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends caregivers empty water from buckets and wading pools immediately after use, install covers or fencing around pools and, in the water, remain within an arm’s length of the child.