Importance of Turning Skills for Water Safety: Teaching Babies to Turn Underwater

Our recent Youtube video series on ‘Down Turn Arounds’ has resulted in a wide range of questions which we pan on answering in this article!

Turning underwater is an important water safety skill. Here the baby learns to turn to
safety – either the parent, ledge or side of the pool. If baby has been attending regular
swimming lessons and has good breath control this skill can be introduced somewhere
between 8 to 12 months of age. This skill is often introduced with a Humpty Dumpty
song. When teaching baby to turn we use a verbal cue followed by a lifting trigger. The
lifting trigger gives baby an opportunity to catch their breath. We like to use the verybal
trigger, “Down Turn Around, Child’s Name Ready Go”.

As baby grows with age and physical capabilities they will learn to turn underwater and
climb out at the side of the pool. While babies and young children must always be
supervised in and around water, the ability to turn provides another layer of protection.
Many parents who have been taking their child to regular swimming lessons have
reported that this skill has proven to be vital for safety. A common scenario is an
accidental submersion where a child slips or falls into a body of water such as a pool,
lake or pond, and the child has instinctively turned around and climbed out.
Remember no child is drown-proof but we do want to establish as many barriers to
protect our children as possible. The ability to swim is the child’s last chance if the other
barriers of pool fencing and supervision are compromised.

 Down Turn Arounds are a vital water safety skill

 Only introduce vertical submersions once baby has good breath control

 Always use a verbal cue and lifting trigger to prepare baby

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