6 Years and Up
An older child can hold his breath for longer periods of time, swim underwater, and retrieve objects at the bottom. He will be able to jump into the water and resurface on his own. He can start learning all of the swimming strokes, including the breast- and backstroke. His greater endurance will allow him to swim longer distances. At this point, you don't have to be in the water with your child, but you still need to supervise pool activities, as he might overestimate his abilities.
- Have an adult watch all water activities. Even a good swimmer can drown.
- Make it a rule that your child can swim only when an adult is present, and encourage him to always swim with a buddy.
- Teach him to dive only when an adult is watching and the water is deep.
- You should be extra vigilant at the beach or a lake. A child's swimming skills in a pool don't necessarily translate to open water.
- Always make your child wear a life jacket when boating or waterskiing, even if he can swim.