Swimming with Your Baby

Many babies love playing with water, whether in a bath or in a pool. Feeling comfortable in the water is the first step toward becoming a good swimmer, and becoming a good swimmer is essential to staying safe as a child grows.

If you have an indoor or outdoor pool nearby, consider taking your baby for a swim. (Be sure to put leak-proof diaper covers or waterproof swim diapers on her to keep the pool clean.) She may be surprised by the coolness of the water if she is used to a warm bath.

• Move slowly on your first few visits to the pool. Just dangle your feet in the shallow end with your baby on your lap to start, then move to sitting on the steps in the pool, and then to holding your baby while standing in the shallow end.

Soon, your baby will discover the fun of splashing and kicking in water, while always being held in the safety of your arms. (Take care that your baby doesn’t drink any of the pool water, especially if it’s heavily chlorinated.)

• Consider taking a swimming class. Look for Red Cross-certified swimming classes for infants in your area. Qualified instructors know what your baby is most comfortable in.

• Always remember: a baby or child can drown in a couple inches of water. Teaching children to swim is the best way to protect them from tragedy. Until they are strong swimmers, however, please follow stringent safety precautions:

  • Never take your hands off your baby in and around the water, even in bathwater just an inch deep.
  • If you plan to participate in infant swim lessons, take them only from a qualified infant swimming instructor. 

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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