Survival swimming lessons (or “self-rescue” swimming lesons) where babies are dropped into water and taught to roll onto their backs, have been branded harmful and distressing. Forcing an infant or toddler to float relies on extreme traumatic methods and sadly no amount of praise will compensate for the memory of inflicted pain. These methods could cause trauma in babies that could lead to a fear of water and give a false sense of security around water.
There are countless testimonials from parents stating just how difficult it was to watch their baby kick and scream as an unfamiliar adult dunks them under the water repeatedly, no matter how the child is reacting. It is a very disconnected and uninvolved situation for both parents and baby.
All of the things that we as humans love and trust are things that we have enjoyed and tried with positive encouragement!
In traditional swim lessons, confidence is often gained first by feeling the water through the fingers and gently pouring water over the child’s head. Going underwater for the first time is scary. It’s that simple. It’s much better to gain trust from the children and then go under water.