Bellingham Athletic Club

When Should My Child Start Swim Lessons?

Learning to swim should be a priority for every family. It’s an important life skill that can play a key role in helping to prevent drowning—a top cause of death among children. Children, and their parents, need to learn how to swim to help keep time in the water safe and fun!

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. Children develop at different rates, and not all are ready to begin swim lessons at exactly the same age. When making your decision, keep your child’s emotional maturity, physical and developmental abilities and limitations, and comfort level in the water in mind. If your child seems ready, it’s a good idea to start lessons now.

By their 4th birthday, most children are ready for swim lessons. At this age, they usually can learn basic water survival skills such as floating, treading water, and getting to an exit point. By age 5 or 6, most children in swim lessons can learn the front crawl.

Remember, swim lessons don’t make kids “drown-proof.” Always keep in mind that swim lessons are just one of several important layers of protection needed to help prevent drowning. Another layer includes constant, focused supervision when your child is in or near a pool or any body of water. It is also essential to block access to pools during non-swim time.

If you’re ready to start your child (or yourself!) in lessons or to continue with lessons, our next session starts on February 4th! We offer all levels at several different times throughout the day. We also have parent/child classes, adult lessons and swim team. If you’re interested in a specific time, please email us at If you’d like to sign up, please call or stop by the front desk!

Finally, February is referral month at BAC. If you refer a friend to our program and they sign up for a session, you will receive a $5 credit towards lessons. Talk to our aquatics director or the front desk for more information.