Guideline on Operation of Aquatic Programs for Children Under Three Years of Age

1. A CHILD'S SWIM LESSON OR WATER ORIENTATION REQUIRES THE INVOLVEMENT AND EDUCATION OF THE PRIMARY CARETAKER OR RESPONSIBLE ADULT WHO IS ACCOMPANYING THE CHILD.

Education and instruction involves in-water participation or calls for the parent to be close at hand lending support. The swim school shall involve the parent in the water education of their child by communicating to the parent (in writing, verbally and visually) the goals, techniques, expectatons and risks of the instruction.

 

2. THE LEARNING ATMOSPHERE SHOULD BE SAFE AND HAPPY WITH LOVING TEACHERS.
A happy and secure environment shall be created that will provide for the baby's social, intellectual, physical, and emotional growth. Learning should be individualized based on each child's capabilities. Children should be taught one to one: either privately with one teacher and one student (with or without parent in-water) or, as a group, each child accompanied by a parent or other adult caregiver known to the child. The key to the learning is the emphasis on positive learning environment working toward aquatic safety and enjoyment. 

 

3. INSTRUCTION SHOULD BE CARRIED OUT BY QUALIFIED TEACHERS WHO HAVE SPECIAL TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE IN: INFANT SWIM EDUCATION, CHILD DEVELOPMENT, AND WATER SAFETY.
Because of the developmental differences between the young child and older children, teachers must have specific understanding, aptitude, patience and enthusiasm for this age group. Staff must continue their education to stay current in new educational developments.
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4. PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH KNOWN MEDICAL PROBLEMS SHALL NOTIFY THE SCHOOL BEFORE PARTICIPATING IN INSTRUCTION. PARENTS SHALL MONITOR THEIR CHILD'S HEALTH BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER PROGRAM PARTICIPATION.

Guidelines shall be provided to parents

 

5. A WARM POOL WATER TEMPERATURE MUST BE MAINTAINED TO PERMIT MAXIMUM LEARNING PROGRESS AND SWIMMING COMFORT.

Water temperature of 87 to 94 degrees is recommended for optimal learning, comfort and enjoyment.

 

6. APPROPRIATE CLOTHING SHOULD BE WORN BY YOUNG CHILDREN TO MINIMIZE THE SPREAD OF BODY WASTES INTO THE WATER.
Parents must be directed to dress children in lightweight apparel that is snug-fitting to the leg.

 

7. ALL LAWS AND REGULATIONS PERTAINING TO WATER PURITY, POOL CARE AND SANITATION MUST BE CAREFULLY FOLLOWED.
 

 

 

 

 

Continuous attention must be given to maintaining facilities in accord with bathing codes and water purity standards. Entrances, locker rooms and pool decks must be maintained in a safe, clean and orderly manner with the idea that parents carrying young children and pushing strollers must be accommodated. Slippery surfaces and impeded walkways can be very dangerous to parents and children. Proper areas for changing and disposal of diapers must be provided.

 

8. PROCEDURES SUCH AS FACE SUBMERSIONS, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHICH ARE CONTROLLED BY AN ADULT, MUST BE INITIALLY LIMITED BOTH IN DURATION AND IN NUMBER FOR THE YOUNG CHILD. WATER SESSIONS FOR BEGINNING STUDENTS ARE TO BE A MAXIMUM OF 30 MINUTES IN LENGTH.
During initial learning of breath control, submersions of young children must be brief (one to three seconds) and few in number (less than six per lesson). Once the child can consistently initiate the submersions AND can demonstrate competent breath control, submersions can become longer and more frequent.

Drafted at the National Swim School Association (NSSA)
Summit Conference on Infant Swimming
Sonoma, California - September 23, 1989
and 
Adopted by the NSSA Board of Directors and Membership

Orlando, Florida - February 23, 1990

The above guidelines were prepared having (1) consulted the nation's top swim school owners and teacher's who have been teaching infants successfully since the 1940’s and (2) reviewed related guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Council for National Cooperation in Aquatics.

If you have other questions about aquatic programs for young children, please talk with the director of your swim school. You may also contact us: National Swim School Association 1200 35th Street, Suite 403-8, West Des Moines, IA 50266 USA Office@nationalswimschools.com