Swimming must be taught to young children

I was born in Los Angeles.  Before I my first birthday my father tossed me in the pool and forced me to learn how to swim.  He made me comfortable with the water.  Now I would not recommend doing that but in California there are swimming pools all over the place and his reasoning was if I did not know how to swim and fell into a pool I would drown. 

Fast forward when I was about 5 years old we were at a party with a bunch of families in Los Angeles.  The parents were having a great time, aka not really paying attention to the kids.  My sister had a dislocated hip when she was born so she she was in a cast for awhile as a young kid.  My father must not have taken the same method of teaching to her as he did to me for whatever reasons, perhaps timing with the cast.  My sister was jumping into the pool.  She was attempting to jump into a round ring that would sit around her waist and let her float in the pool.  She missed and sunk to the bottom.  I saw it happen.  None of the adults seemed to notice.  I jumped into the pool and dove down to the bottom to pull her up the top.  When I was pulling her over to the side with my arm around her waist it was then that the adults freaked. 

I tell this story because every year we here about kids drowning.  Kids at parties with parents right there.  Kids that go to the shore with their school but it ends up they do not know how to swim and get carried away in the current.  Every year like clockwork.  The story is always the same, the kid did not know how to swim. 

I put each of our kids in swim programs from the time they were 2 years old.  People thought I was crazy to start that young.  It was actually hard to find a program so I went for the private.  To me, it was essential that they not only knew how to swim at an early age but felt comfortable in water from early on. The day camp they went to had an amazing program too.  They started the kids in a pool that was two feet deep and then once they learned some essentials moved them into the 3 foot deep pool and continued to move deeper and deeper in separate pools. 

At MIT one of the requirements to graduate college is that you have to pass a swim test.  Decades ago a student drowned and the family left an endowment to insure that every kid that graduated from MIT knew how to swim.  Absolutely brilliant.

We are coming up on swim season right now.  I hope that it is something that parents remember that swimming is essential to teach your kids at an early age.  Just because you live in an urban environment does not mean that you do not need to know how to swim.  There are a few things that everyone should know how to do and one of them is how to swim.