Have no fear taking your newborn baby swimming, it’s a fun bonding activity and experience for you and your child. Swimming is safe for babies as long as you’re vigilant, attentive and informed. Even though you can take your baby swimming before they get their immunization shots, there are a few things you need to take into consideration.
At What Age?
Babies have a natural affinity to water and you can safely take your baby swimming as early as 3 months. It’s important to introduce your baby to water before and after in-pool swim lessons. Practice floating in the bathtub, slowly and gently gliding your baby through the water as they float.
Public Pools are a No-No…
That is, before the age of 6 months. Public pools are crowded and noisy. In addition to that, the water temperature at a public pool is out of your control. A safe water temperature for infants is lukewarm, the water should not be cold. Babies cannot regulate their body temperature like adults can. The ideal pool temperature for a newborn baby is approximately 90-92ºF. Water that is too warm/hot is also dangerous for babies as it can cause lightheadedness, muscle spasms and vomiting. It is not recommended that you bring infants into hot tubs for this reason.
Another reason to be wary of public pools, there might be more bacteria and other contaminants (sweat, urine, etc.) present due to the high amount of traffic that public pools get. Warm water at public pools creates circumstances for bacteria to breed. Always watch your baby for signs of illness and discomfort during and after being in a pool.
Babies can’t regulate their body temperature like adults can.
After 9 months in a perfectly regulated environment like the womb – it becomes one of your baby’s first tasks to regulate their body temperature. It takes a while for this ability to develop so during this time you should monitor your baby (both in and out of the pool). There are a few critical guidelines you should follow when deciding how many layers your baby needs and which clothes, blankets and accessories to buy for your new baby.
Regarding body temperature and pools specifically, indoor pools are ideal because you can control room and water temperature. If your home pool is outdoors, pick a hot day that is not windy so your baby doesn’t get cold when they are wet above or out of the water. Make sure there are a lot of towels on-hand so you can wrap baby up immediately!
Eliminate Risk Factors
There are some things you should be wary of when taking your newborn baby swimming. Eliminate potentially dangerous or fatal risks by paying mind to the following:
- Illnesses (both others and your baby)
- Rinse yourself and baby before and after getting into the pool to reduce pool irritants
- Feed one to two hours before the swim lesson
- Be vigilant, never leave your baby unsupervised or unattended near water, even for a few seconds
- Chlorine is safe for babies
As long as you’re taking all the necessary precautions while being vigilant and attentive, it can be perfectly safe to take your newborn baby swimming. Infant swimming is also a wonderful parent-child bonding experience. In our hectic, fast-paced world, slowing down to enjoy the little things is crucial – not only for our kids but for parents as well!