Holding Breath Underwater

Q: “I’ve heard that babies can hold their breath underwater naturally because they’re used to breathing in water in the womb. Is this true for toddlers, as well?

A: This is true only for babies just after they are born. The instinct disappears sometime after the child learns to use his lungs to breathe air, though there is no research that says when.

Submerging a toddler who does not know how to hold his breath can cause him to swallow or inhale water, both of which can be frightening and dangerous.


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