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Water Safety and Why We Got Rid of Our Swimming Pool

When we bought our home a little over five years ago there was an above ground pool in the backyard built into our two level deck. At first we considered this a plus for the house. When you live in a place where the summer days regularly reach temperatures with three digits instead of two, a spot to cool off only a few steps from your door seems like a great idea.

Anders was five months old when we moved in and the moment he became mobile we began making plans to tear the pool down and fill the deck in. Owning a pool came with responsibilities my husband and I did not  want to take on. There was the constant cleaning and skimming and the water testing and chemical adding that all pool owners must perform, of course, but more troublesome to the two of us as parents was the possibility that taking our eyes off of our son for one moment might result in finding him at the bottom of that pool. 

It horrified me. We ripped the pool down within a year. I realize there are tons of options for ensuring that your pool is safe, secure, and generally an impenetrable area for children unaccompanied by adults, but it was a risk not worth taking for us and we chose not to.

One thing I do regret that I haven’t done yet is enroll Anders and Danica in swim lessons. Teaching them to swim is, perhaps, an even better precaution to take to ensure their water safety. We do spend a lot of time in the water — my parents have a pool in their backyard — and I attempt to teach them the basics of swimming myself, but coaxing Anders out of his water wings seems to require the skills of an experienced hostage negotiator.

Danica, on the other hand, will dive first and consider the fact that she can’t swim only after she sinks like a stone. Her love of the pool makes her a better pupil, but also one to watch closely around bodies of water.

I didn’t learn to swim until I was 8 years old which seemed reasonable and my children are 3 and 5, but my 4-year-old nephew seems to be part fish. In looking around for local swim lessons I noticed that they are offered to children as young as 3 months.

So my question is can your children swim and at what age did they learn?

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