Swimming With Babies

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From our friends at Parents Ask

There’s nothing like taking a cool dip in the hot summer months. But how do you know if your baby is ready to make a splash? Today, Parents Ask expert Elizabeth Pantley offers tips and guidelines for swimming with babies:

Q:  Our local public pool offers swimming classes for parents with babies. This sounds like fun, but I’m wondering: Is this something I can do safely with my eight-month-old baby?

A: Swimming classes can be a fun experience to share with your baby and with other parent-baby pairs. The term “class” in this context shouldn’t mean that your baby will “learn” anything. Until a child is four or five years old, any swim program should be viewed as simply a pleasurable way to introduce your baby to the fun of being in the water.

When in baby old enough?
As long as the water and weather are warm enough, you can take any baby over a few weeks old into a pool while in your arms. The younger the baby, of course, the more closely you’ll need to monitor the reaction to the water, and the more careful you’ll need to be about the chill that can occur when wet skin hits cooler air. Keep in mind that your baby will chill before you do.

Making the swimming experience safe
The one most important rule for swimming with a young baby is to always keep him in your arms when he’s in or near the water. Always.

Very young babies don’t really need any floats or swimming aids, since they will not be out of your arms at any time (right?). If you decide to let your older baby float around in a baby boat or swim ring, always keep in mind that these are not designed for safety or protection; you should keep your hands and eyes on your baby at all times.

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Expert tips on when you’re baby is ready.

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