Teaching Babies to "Swim" (RO as all get out)

Warning to parents and the squeamish - You may want to skip this. I myself can’t stand to watch it. I’ve seen similar footage, also on YouTube, and read a discussion of this particular clip.

This is the video, of Hayden Faith’s “lesson”.

Apparently there are some loonies out there who believe that surviving an instructor-induced near-drowning is equivalent to learning to “swim” (or something). Some people argue that this teaches them how to float, so that if they ever fall into a pool they won’t drown.

I think it’s bullshit that ought to be stopped.

Little kids NEED to be supervised around water.

No kidding. If only there were, I don’t know, an able-bodied adult with her in the water at all times.

Oh, wait, there was.

People have been teaching infants to swim since the dawn of human civilization. The kid in the video was never more than a few feet from the instructor and never in danger. Yes, she’s crying and scared. That also happens when you introduce them to broccoli.

Nobody responsible suggests leaving infants unsupervised near water. Teaching them to float as an instinctual skill, for use in the case of an accident, can be a lifesaver, however.

– friedo, former certified lifeguard who has pulled enough kids off the bottom of various swimming pools.

Huh. Well, even years of swimming lessons didn’t help me. I was eleven when I nearly drowned. In a YMCA full of kids.

Young infants do have a swim reflex, don’t they? I don’t know exactly when it disappears. And the kid on the Nirvana “Nevermind” album was actually immersed in water for the cover (some people just took pictures of their kid in the water and somehow the band/producers got ahold of them).

Oh good grief. This kid is plenty supervised and she’s learning a life skill. This is nothing.

I had my kids in the pool practically from birth. Swim lessons (make that “swim” lessons) starting at 3-6 months, depending on the kid and lesson availability. Not a lot of tears and they learned to level off, survival breathing, getting to the side of the pool, and all sorts of good stuff.

The real crimes here are (a) naming the poor kid Haydn and (b) putting the video of her on the Internet.

Well. Hilarity N. Suze already made the crack about the dumb name (poor kid), so all I’ve got left is a :rolleyes:

Huh. I loved swimming as a baby. My parents joke that I learned to swim before I learned to walk.

I think you guys are nuts. That child looks and sounds terrified.

The resources I’ve found online say that age 4 (that’s years, not months) is the appropriate time to begin swimming lessons.

Babies, toddlers and preschoolers don’t really have control of their limbs. They’re somewhat helpless, and they trust adults to help them, not drag them back into water over their heads. Gah - that kid was under the fucking water.

Shit happens to kids, you know? Mine both fell and scraped their faces this weekend. I gave them ice and hugs, and encouraged them to go right back to it - because there’s a point. You play, you get hurt, that’s life. But there’s a point to it, because they’re pushing their limits and learning what they can and can’t get away with.

This stuff, where an adult keeps dragging the kid into the water, is just bullshit. Making the kid scream for nothing. Where’s the proof that it “prevents” drowning? I’d love to see that, because what I’ve seen instead (we went to the pools a lot this summer) is that it’s not safe to assume that small kids can handle water, even when they’ve had lessons.

Hilarity, if your kids enjoyed it, fine. Lovely for you and all that.

I ditto the “Nothing wrong with this” comments

Did something awful happen more than 2 minutes into the video? Cuz that’s how far I watched. The kid obviously understood what he was supposed to do, thus had probably been exposed to the notion of ‘‘swimming’’ before.

Didn’t see any excessive crying or trauma. I was this age when I learned to swim. The final test involved jumping off a diving board. I was fine. And I’m a pretty good swimmer as a result.

By that impeccable logic, nobody should be taught to swim. They might drown anyway. :rolleyes:

Could it be that the fear of water is innate in some infants but not in others?

What he said.

I’d also like to add that no matter when you start swimming it is a traumatic experience, all the more so when you think you should be able to swim and when you find out that you can’t the hard way your dad has to dive in fully clothed and drag your dumb 4-year-old ass out of the deep end because everybody else froze and being a former lifeguard he didn’t.

There is nothing to be squeamish about in that video. It’s a child learning a difficult survival skill and performing in an impressive fashion. As for it being traumatic, I’m sure it is. That makes the lesson far more memorable. The child will know exactly what to do if it ever happens for real.

“Sink or swim” is not just a saying. It’s a life lesson.

The Fairfax County Recreation department offers infant swim in the regular pool with one parent, and one child, with instructors (adults) for every three pairs. The kids are held in the water until they are comfortable, then they go under while the parent holds them and goes under with them until that also is comfortable. It generally only takes a few minutes, and often include mimic induced humming to keep water out of the kid’s nose if necessary.

After all that, the little buggers are swimming all over the place, chasing mom around the pool. It’s unbelievably cool. I never heard a single baby cry during the three of these lessons I observed. I was told that they often do as they are first put into the pool, but they didn’t do it when I saw them.


I don’t think that letting a young child swim per se is wrong. I watched the video again, and the kid is kind of flipping out. The adult continues to sort of throw the kid in, which seems a bit excessive. Maybe I’m a total softie, but I’d probably do it in smaller doses. You know, hold the kid in the water, take them out if they start crying, then do it again later.

You are the very first person to use the word “prevent” in this thread. It can be a lifesaver. And nobody thinks doing this gives them license to send their 2 year old off to the pool by himself, so gone with your “zomg, kids need supervision!!!” crap. We know. But, in the (fairly unlikely, given proper supervision) event that something really bad happens, the kid’s going to know how to turn herself over and breathe.

Ya know, we’re so afraid we’re going to scar and scare the little darlings… especially teaching them important life-saving skills…

Well, I have a cousin who learned this skill in infant/toddle swim-survival class.

Then, six months later, he fell off the dock into the lake at a family picnic. Yes, he was supervised. Yes, we noticed and we rushed out to fish him out… But because he had been through this stuff and had brushed up on the skill? He was a 2 year old who a) was scared but didn’t TOTALLY freak b) started to cry but whose “muscle memory” kicked in c) flipped on his back instead of floating face down; d) continued to cry so we HEARD HIM…

Do you know how fast a toddler can drown?

So, does it prevent drowning? Fuck yeah.

Is it really necessary to drag the kid underwater before he has a chance to catch his breath? I understand why the parent is doing this, but give the little fucker a few seconds to breath. If someone ten times my size kept dragging me underwater I would get myself a handgun and put a stop to it, repeatedly.

Yes, I know how to swim. I don’t ever remember learning how, so I suppose I was taught at a very early age, but my mother isn’t a sadistic bitch.

FYI - mammalian dive reflex:


whereby the windpipe shuts off when an infant goes underwater, so water doesnt enter the lungs. mouth open, lungs shut, stops being a reflex at about one year.

i dont know how old that kid is so i dont know if this would apply, but i just think it is interesting if nothing else.

and i have no problem whatsoever with that clip.


So I watched the whole clip. The kid actually calms down when she’s floating, and doesn’t seem that upset through a lot of it. At one point, when she’s actually having trouble, she says “Mommy, help!” and… mommy is there in a second to help her. For the rest of it, it doesn’t even really seem like the swimming part is what’s upsetting her, as she cries harder when her mom picks her up.

I really can’t get the outrage at this one.