This is hard to watch, but then you ask “Why aren’t we teaching all our infants?”

I’ve only found one place on the net that seems to cover this technique in New Zealand, but there may be more.

Safety skills are one of the primary reasons why many people initially enrol their children in swimming lessons. But, as you now know there is so much more to infant/toddler swimming than merely one aspect. However, the acquisition of the right safety skills early on in life is not only life enhancing, it can be lifesaving. The younger your child can begin their swimming adventure, the sooner they will be able to build a foundation for a lifetime of safety in the water, and may even be able to one day save others.

Safety skills to learn include teaching a baby to jump in the water, turn around and swim back to the side. This is the most practical method of ‘self rescue’ for infants and toddlers as the majority of accidents occur near the edge of pools or other bodies of water, often when adults aren’t around.

It seems to me that this can save a lot of infant pool or still pond drownings.  (response)

Infant Self Rescue


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  • Michael

    far out. That is hard to watch.

    I remember fishing my little brother out of my nan’s swimming pool when I was 13, he was 1 I think. Most terrifying thing I can ever recall, dragging my lil bro out of the swimming pool.

    My ex-wife and I put both our kids through infant swimming (as a result to my bailing my brother out of a pool), not as effective as that video, but just teaching kids water awareness goes a long way.

  • unsol

    I have seen something similar to this before & there is no way I am watching anything like it again.

    But teaching babies how to float. Such bullshit. It’s completely unnecessary.

    Here’s a thought: if you don’t want your child to drown…or get run over in a driveway, bloody supervise them. After all, isn’t that what the care in caregiver means?

    Anything like this reminds me of the silly negligent woman who was so busy gossiping to a friend at a local pool that she failed to supervise her toddler who subsequently fell into a spa pool drowned. Rather than take personal responsibility she tried to blame the pool. I think it was in Wellington – a few years ago now.

    Swimming lessons are essential as breathing, but only when they have the cognitive ability to start learning floating properly, strokes, doggy paddle & treading water. I think this should be from age 5 and up. Before then & until your child is completely competent be a parent and supervise them – that is, get in the damn pool & stay within arms length.

    After all, that is what the law requires.

    As for baths – don’t leave bathroom doors open when running a bath, close toilet doors (yep they have been known to climb into toilets) & make sure there is a fence – as per legal requirements – around your pool.

    Everything else – puddles, rivers, the sea (anyone watch Piha Rescue – really dulls ones faith in humanity), creeks, just use your common sense.

    And if you don’t have any. Don’t have children.

    End rant.

    • cruiseyman

      While I agree with everything you’ve said regarding properly supervising your children, I believe that teaching them these skills from a young age is invaluable and I would much prefer to have a safety net in place if some day the unthinkable happens. I would rather my child have these skills in place than not. Accidents can and do happen to the best of parents.

      • unsol

        Yes, I’m probably being a bit harsh as kids are incredibly unpredictable & can outsmart even the most cunning of parents. But when it comes to water, for me it is a no brainer; I feel it is unnecessary because children should never be in the position like that of the baby in the video, in the first place. I just see it as a really black & white issue. Driveways & other things of that nature -perhaps less so.

        • cruiseyman

          We’re looking at buying a house at the moment and I just wouldn’t consider anything with a pool or spa for that reason. I’m not even keen on stairs! But we have friends with pools etc and you just never know and even though my husband and I are super vigilant things can happen that you could never predict (like earthquakes lol). Also I’m really looking forward to the classes (he’s only 4 mths now) and am hoping he’ll enjoy it.

          • unsol

            I’m not even keen on stairs! Haha, so know how you feel. The stair gates work…..until they work out how to climb over them or undo them.

            Yes totally know what you mean re friends’ pools. We have friends whose pool set up is exactly like that in this video……I just become a helicopter mum (& have to fight off my helicopter husband where water is concerned) & deal with it that way.

            We did baby swimming classes too from 6 months onwards, but purely just to keep the enjoyment up so they felt comfortable going under water….great way to wean off baths & move onto showers. They do love it though. But lessons like that above ^….not so sure :)

          • cruiseyman

            Is that video actually a lesson though? I thought it was just demonstrating how teaching these techniques to babies can save their lives. Poor baby though, I had to watch it with the sound off.

          • Dave

            Your are being over cautious cruiseyman. Firstly, if you look at the stats, your children have far more likelihood of being injured or killed in a car crash. Are you going to ban them from ever going out in a car ?? Secondly, ALL pools must be fenced, with self closing and latching gates, meaning it is impossible for under 5 to 6 year olds to get in without assistance from older children or adults. Gates are also lockable, meaning access can be controlled. Secondly, teach them to swim, then they can go to friends places with a pool, and enjoy a normal and healthy social life. Lastly, parental responsibility, and monitoring children is the best thing to deter children from injuring themselves anywhere. Don’t forget, video surveillance and pool alarms are relatively inexpensive these days, and work very well.

            OH, PS Better not buy a house near a main road, too many cars going past, far too much of a danger.

          • cruiseyman

            I see what you’re saying Dave but if there are things I can do to minimize risk and it’s practical to do so, then I will. So no, I won’t ban them from going in cars as that is not practical. I won’t live near main roads anyway as I have dogs one of which is not very bright and will chase a cat out to the street if someone leaves a gate open(and by someone I mean a visitor not me or my husband who are very careful). And if you read my first post you will see that I am taking my son to swimming lessons as soon as he is 6 mths. I am not going to be wrapping my child in cotton wool but if I can make simple choices that could eliminate hazards then I will.

          • Dave

            I reiterate. Swimming pools are not a real hazard when managed, it is a fear from parents who do not take practical steps to manage and take responsibility for their swimming pools and ponds. In Australia there were 21 preventable drownings with children under 5 years in 2011. Thats under 1 drowning per 1 mill of population, and whilst it’s 21 too many, most occur OUTSIDE of the infants immediate home. Please read all the reports from RSL and see for yourself. My point, as a parent I admire you for minimising risk, but feel your looking at it the wrong way. The greatest risk comes from children who cannot swim, and / or do not have access to swimming pools / water, so a fascination draws them to water elsewhere.

          • cruiseyman

            But I AM going to be taking my baby to swimming lessons Dave and to the beach etc I’m just not going to buy a house with a pool just yet. Can’t afford it anyway!

    • meh

      I agree with most of what you have said, supervision, parental responsibility etc. But I disagree with your age – 5 is too late in my opinion to begin.

      Our little one had her first “lessons” at 9 months and then we decided to wait until 20 months to continue. She is making great progress with kicking / closing her mouth and eyes when put underwater, etc. This is all in an adult pool with me holding her and guiding her. The earlier she is comfortable with water and gains the ability to float / save herself the better.

      I reiterate – I watch her like a hawk and would not let her get into trouble as shown in the video, but you can;t always be there so better to be prepared in case.

      • unsol

        I agree. We did the same. I actually meant 5 for lessons where they are left in the pool on their own like this baby.

  • LesleyNZ

    I thought this video was wonderful. Teach them while they are babies!

  • The shown unfenced pools would be illegal in NZ, wouldn’t they?

    • Dave

      From memory its up to local councils in NZ In Aussie its mandatory, every single pool MUST be fenced. Currently several homeowners are being prosecuted for not having compliant fences where a child has had a near miss, or in one case, drowned.