CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The ability to swim can be the difference between life and death for your child, but what is the best way to make sure they learn? 22News is working for you with when they should start, and what you can do to help.

Summer is just around the corner and as you prepare for your kid’s summer vacation, it’s important to set them up for safety around the water.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), drowning is a top cause of death among children. The AAP recommends that parents hold off on formal swimming lessons until after their child’s first birthday. You should also consider a child’s emotional maturity, physical and developmental abilities, and limitations before enrolling in classes.

If you don’t think they’re ready, consider a parent-child program that focuses on water games, and safety in and around the pool.