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Baby-and-me swimming lessons are fun but not tremendously effective for teaching Lucy how to swim. Despite your best intentions, she is unlikely to last more than a few minutes in a swimming pool even if it’s warm, and she’ll soon let you know that, for her at least, the lesson is over. (In case you were worried, the chlorine is perfectly fine for young babies.)
Children can only handle true swimming at five or six years old, depending on how much they’re exposed to water. When children are no longer afraid of immersing themselves and can hold their breath, they’re ready to swim. Style comes later.
No matter how talented a swimmer you think your child is, you must watch him or her like a hawk around any pool, both in the water and out, until the early teens. Kids can fall in or worse despite the most sophisticated fences and tarps, and a catastrophe can happen in a split second. This is true of any body of water, from a sink to an ocean.