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Bring your baby into the pool

How young is too young to jump in the pool? Well, he or she may not be jumping just yet, but Parenting Magazine says that it's safe to bring a baby that's just a few months old into the water, so long as you take proper precautions.

Preparing for the plunge                         
Before taking your baby into the pool, ease him or her into the groove of water with baths and showers. Take these baths and showers with no soap (or very gentle soap). Even allowing them to play with a washcloth can help get them acquainted with the idea. This will help the child not to be fearful of water. The article goes on to say that after about two months of learning to "trust" the water, your baby should be ready for the pool. 

Swim safely                                 
While your baby may be ready to go in the pool, there are certain precautions you should take to ensure your baby's safety. Warm the pool up slightly and don't keep the baby in the water for very long. If he or she starts to shiver, it's time to get out of the pool. Also, make sure the chemicals are slightly more diluted than usual as babies have very sensitive eyes and skin. 

Hold your baby under the arms so he or she can feel what it's like to float while staying safe. Try not to take your baby into the pool after meals to avoid a mess. If you do go in after eating, outfit your baby in a swim diaper. At 6 to 9 months, your baby will likely be ready for swimming lessons. Stay with him or her through the lessons, acting as a partner with the instructor so your baby doesn't become overwhelmed. 

It's not just fun, it's good for them 
Swimming is great exercise for babies and adults. According to BrainWorld Magazine, the resistance provided by the water stimulates muscle development and encourages growth in the brain as well. The article goes on to say that the stimulation that occurs with physical contact with the water can help the baby develop new pathways in the brain. Introducing your child to swimming early in life can help keep them safe when they get older and strike out on their own in the water. BrainWorld cites a 2009 study by the National Institute of Health, which found that swimming lessons reduce the risk of drowning for children ages 1 to 4 by 88 percent.