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Going underwater is an important part of swim lessons, but can also be scary for younger kids who are just getting started in the water.


At Sea Otter, we encourage instructors to put a child underwater by their second lesson with us. The reason for this is because we want children to start to practice and learn what to do after they have been underwater. After being submerged, we teach swimmers to either roll to their back or swim to the wall.


We do not want children to get a false sense of security in the water, thinking they can be in a pool or body of water without ever going under. If they were to ever accidentally fall into a body of water, we want them to have the skills to know how to respond. Practicing this in swim lessons will help teach them valuable skills and prevent panic.


According to the CDC, every day, two children under 14 die from unintentional drowning. In California, drowning is a leading cause of injury-related deaths among children under the age of five. We want our swimmers to know what to do if they ever find themselves underwater, which is roll to their back or swim to the wall, to keep them safe and alive.


Additionally, remaining in a horizontal position during swim lessons is important practice as this sets your swimmer up to start to learn proper swimming techniques. Putting their face in the water is a building block to learning proper freestyle, breast and butterfly stroke.


We never “dunk” children to get them to go underwater. Our swim instructors work to build trust with your children, so they will feel safe and confident to try new things in swim lessons.


Whenever a child will be submerged in lessons, there is a verbal cue and a physical cue that is given before going under. This way, children know what to expect and are not surprised by the submersion.


Sometimes little ones may cry after being submerged. This can come from a number of factors and we will work with your child to get past their fears and anxiety. We are confident that with practice and consistency, your child will start to feel more comfortable in the water and begin to pick up the basic swimming skills they need to be safer in the water.