I am astonished by an article in the Chronicle today. When Jeff was born over thirty-three years ago, we were told that children swim in the womb, and getting them into the water before a certain age meant they would not forget. Jeff was in the water almost immediately and in a swim class with me at six weeks. One of the great delights of a friend of mine is the experience he shares with his grandson in a swimming class. What a shock then to come to this article with another proclamation of fear and placing limits on our children. Are we nuts?
Infants in the pool - a dive into controversy
Parents who teach their tots to swim say the earlier the better. Pediatricians say reducing a young child's fear of water is dangerous.
Friday, March 28, 2008
I meant to take a few strokes from the article, and then decided not to. Children enjoy swimming with their parents. Obviously children are not meant to be left alone in a pool. Neither is an adult. Many children today are rarely left alone at all. They are over-programmed as to activities and over-supervised. Yes, some children die in swimming accidents. Children have been known to fall into a toilet head-first and drown. We can't protect our children from everything, and those who can swim might survive the fall into a pool. There is not one study showing that there are more deaths by children who have learned to swim at an early age. We're not supposed to let children out of our sight. Fine, then, let's hold them in a swimming pool and bond and play with them and have fun. Children love it. Adults love it. Why would we then take it away? One problem in this society is not enough touch. This is the perfect place and way to touch.
We lived in San Clemente, when Jeff was two to four. We were in a townhouse with a fenced swimming pool at the end of our cluster of eight homes. Jeff rode his Big Wheel from house to house for treats. I'm sure there were times the gate was left open, and somehow Jeff managed never to enter or fall in, and if he had, I still think I would prefer that he carried the joy of swimming in the womb right here to life on earth. We need quality in life, space to move and explore and play and have fun. In my opinion, pediatricians should jump into a lake on this one, and let their cognitive heads melt in the sun.