What Age to Start Swim Lessons

When you take a moment to do some digging, you can find research papers that discuss when is a good time to start swim lessons. The United States Swim School Association strongly believes that babies, toddlers and children of all ages should participate in swim lessons in a high quality aquatics program. A child of any age will never be completely “drownproof” or “watersafe,” however we can teach our children and families to be safer around the water. Keep in mind that the foundation to stroke instruction ie. learning to swim starts with instruction around water competency.

Below we share links to important research studies that show starting children early can increase their water competency and skills. And with more children ages 1-4 dying from drowning than any other cause of death, swimming is an important lifesaving skill to have.

To describe and provide research evidence regarding what physical, cognitive, & affective competencies contribute to a person’s water competence & reduce the risk of drowning.

“The younger the age at which children started lessons, the earlier the child was able to attain aquatic competencies within their developmental capabilities.”

“This pilot study showed, for the first time, a potential link between infant motor development and neonatal aquaticity.”

“Participation in formal swimming lessons was associated with an 88% reduction in the risk of drowning in the 1- to 4-year-old children”

“In the United States: More children ages 1–4 die from drowning than any other cause of death.”

“Recent studies suggest that water survival skills training and swim lessons can help reduce drowning risk for children between ages 1-4. Classes that include both parents and their children also are a good  way to introduce good water safety habits and start building swim readiness skills. If your child seems ready, it’s a good idea to start lessons now.”

The United States Swim School Association strongly believes that babies, toddlers and children of all ages should participate in swim lessons in a high quality aquatics program.

What to Look for in a Good Learn to Swim Program

The US Swim School Association has worked together with fellow leaders of Water Safety USA to come up with this important guidance for parents, caregivers, and pediatricians. There can be a lot to consider when looking for a learn to swim program. Developed by aquatic experts, this guidance will help you make the right choice for your future swimmer.

Full Guidelines can be found HERE

New Parent Water Safety Video

The New York Water Safety Coalition is working with legislators to get important water safety information into the hands of new parents in the hospital. Modeled after the shaken baby video show at the hospital to newborn parents, this video provides important information on the number one risk of death for children 1 to 4 years old. Join us in sharing this important message with parents and caregivers.


What Caregivers Should Look for When Choosing Swim Lessons

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children get swim lessons as early as one year of age. Learning to swim has been shown to reduce the risk of drowning by 88% if children participate in formal swimming lessons between ages 1 – 4*. It can also improve sleep quality, increase cognitive skills development and offer a healthy activity for growing bodies+.

Sounds great, but what do you look for in a good learn to swim program? It is important to find a swim school that fits the needs of the student and your family. Here are some things to look for as you search to find that fit.

Look for:

  • developmentally and age appropriate activities and learning, kids learn best through play
  • positive and fun environment that focuses on the needs of the learner
  • small class sizes for young children and beginners, for beginners the USSSA minimum standard is no more than a 1 to 6 ratio with the recommendation that 1 to 4 or less is best, as well as shorter lessons in warm water for young children
  • progressive development with rewards along the way to keep your swimmer motivated and excited to learn, remember learning to swim is a process
  • friendly and helpful staff that is inclusive and strives to meet your family’s needs, one that includes parents in the process
  • safe environment with vigilant supervision by staff with completed background checks, proper use of equipment, and water safety training included in lessons
  • well qualified staff with ongoing training
  • clean facility that includes clear, well sanitized water
  • professionalism, including participation in a national association such as the US Swim School Association with minimum standards

Here are some questions you can use to get you started as you visit swim schools in your area:

  1. What is your instructor to child ratio?
  2. How long is each lesson?
  3. How do you determine what level my child should start at?
  4. What tools do you use to keep students motivated and excited to learn?
  5. How often do you review water safety with students and with parents?
  6. What first aid and safety equipment do you have onsite?
  7. Can parents watch the lesson (or if a young child, do the parents participate with the child in the lesson)?
  8. Are all staff over 18 background checked?
  9. How often do instructors receive training? What certifications do instructors hold?
  10. How often is your pool water checked for proper levels to maintain clean water?
  11. What organizations does your swim school participate in?

There are many swim schools that offer year-round lessons, so today is a great day to start your search and get signed up. You can find a list of schools in your area by visiting: https://www.usswimschools.org/find-a-school/

*Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine 2014
+Griffith Study 2013

Try a New Way of Doing Benefits

There’s a new way of doing employer-sponsored health insurance and it’s based on reimbursing employees for health insurance rather than buying it for them. It’s called a health reimbursement arrangement and it brings more cost control and flexibility to companies and more choice for employees.

What are the types of HRAs?

HRAs have been around a while, but the newer “flavors” – specifically the Qualified Small Employer HRA and the Individual Coverage HRA, are more recent defined contribution models.

The Qualified Small Employer HRA (QSEHRA) was established when President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act in 2016. It put small businesses on nearly the same playing field from a tax-advantage perspective as large employers with group plans. It has annual limits and is for businesses with less than 50 full time employees only.

The Individual Coverage HRA (ICHRA), which was created by regulatory rule updates in 2019, became available January 2020. It expands upon the advantages of QSEHRA and opens it up to business of all sizes without annual limits. One feature that ICHRA does that QSEHRA does not is allow for businesses to divide employees into classes and reimburse at different rates per class.


How HRAs work

The mechanics of an HRA are pretty simple. Business owners determine a set budget for their employees to reimburse for health insurance and workers choose the plan that works best for them. Some employers also reimburse for medical expenses.

Employers then “design” their HRA. They can choose to divide up by class, or scale rates by family size and age (which is the most common). Employees buy their own individual health insurance plan and are reimbursed through their paycheck. If they go to the doctor, they can submit a receipt and get reimbursed for the copay (if the plan allows for medical expense reimbursement).


Benefits of HRAs

HRAs are good for both employers and employees. Here’s why.

For employers:

  • Flexibility: HRAs make sense for a diverse workforce; it’s hard to find a plan that will work for all types of employees, especially part-time, hourly and remote workers.
  • Cost Control: Group premium prices can go up every year, but HRA allowances are predictable and set, and can allow for savings.
  • Risk De-management: Employers no longer have to worry about managing risk.
  • Compliant: HRAs, when set up and administered appropriately, can satisfy the employer shared responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act and the right HRA administrator ensures that the HRA offer remains compliant.
  • No participation rates to worry about

For employees:

  • Choice: Employees can choose any ACA-compliant plan on the market and select the level of coverage that best fits their family needs and that works with their preferred doctors and prescriptions.
  • Portability: QSEHRA and ICHRA allow employees to keep their coverage in the event they lose or change jobs.


Which HRA is right for my business?

Need help sorting through the details of your HRA options and finding the right one for you? Take Command’s team of experts are on hand to help. Please schedule a time to chat with our HRA Design team to see if an HRA is a good fit for you or check out one of our helpful guides on our favorite HRAs, like our ICHRA Guide and QSEHRA Guide. 


About Our Sponsor Take Command

Take Command is on a mission to accelerate the adoption of the reimbursement model of health insurance to help create a consumer-centric healthcare system. Take Command is a proud inaugural member of the HRA Council, a recognized leader in QSEHRA administration for small employers, launched the first-to-market Individual Coverage HRA platform, and is the only HRA administrator to also offer full service, in-house individual enrollment support.