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Swimming: when can I expect my preschooler to move beyond water play?

Children who have basic water safety skills do not have a clear advantage over other children when it comes to avoiding drowning. Children should always be supervised when swimming in a pool and in the case of children who can't swim properly, this means being within arm's length of an adult.

Arm bands and other flotation devices are not fool-proof, but aid in water safety and building confidence for a child swimmer. Because swimming requires a lot of coordination and gross motor skills, it is often not possible for a child under the age of four to swim ‘correctly’. Of course children develop at different rates, but all the motor skills needed may not be at the same level. Before being able to swim, a child should be able to walk up and down stairs without needing support, skip along a level surface, ride a bike and hop effectively.

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