USSSA Stance on Treatment of Children in Swim Lessons

The United States Swim School Association values safety. As such, the United States Swim School Association board of directors would like to highlight a few positions that are currently included in our flagship Infant Toddler training course as well as in our long-standing Code of Ethics.

When teaching infants and toddlers in swim lessons, USSSA swim schools should provide the following:
● A safe and successful learning environment. A happy and secure environment that will provide for the baby’s social, intellectual, physical, and emotional growth.
● Individualize learning based on each student’s developmental capabilities.
● A positive learning environment while working toward aquatic safety and enjoyment.

Best practices include:
● The teacher, program of instruction, and/or the environment should not be causative factors in a child’s discomfort and/or distress.
● During the initial introduction of learning breath control, submersions of young children, over 6 months, must be brief (approximately three seconds) and few in number (no more than six per lesson).
○ Once the child can consistently initiate the submersions AND can demonstrate competent breath control, submersions can become longer and more frequent.
● Water sessions for children under 3, must not exceed 30 minutes.

As stated in the USSSA Code of Ethics, “Members shall not employ teaching methods that deliberately and/or repeatedly subject a child or student to pain, or unnecessary and/or unreasonable fear or distress. While embracing and accepting a wide variety of teaching methods and practices, the USSSA does not endorse or accept any teaching method or curriculum that is based in whole or in part on aggressive teaching objectives or methods that incorporate, encourage or tolerate the infliction or suffering of pain; or unnecessary, unwarranted fear, distress or danger.”

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The United States Swim School Association is a non-profit 501(c)3 established in 1988 dedicated to providing resources to assist our members in achieving their goals in the learn-to-swim business. For more information contact Executive Director, Lisa Zarda at 480-837-5525 or