The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends swimming lessons only for children older than 5.
But new research in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine may change some minds.
The families of 88 children who drowned were interviewed, as were more than 200 other families whose children had a close call but survived. Among children ages 1 to 4, just 2 percent who drowned had received swimming lessons. That compares with 26 percent who were still alive.
Experts say learning even basic water skills such as floating or paddling for a few feet may help save a child's life.