New mommies and daddies come across a ton of questions about their little bundles of joy. Most of them you've never even contemplated prior to parenthood. It's important to keep asking because you want your baby to be healthy, safe and comfortable. If you own a pool, you could be wondering – when is the right age to introduce a baby to the water? Here's what you need to know about babies and swimming pools from day one.
Why babies are sensitive to water
Doctors and baby specialists can't stress enough how important it is to wait until your baby is a little older to bring him or her into the pool for a number of reasons.
"For newborns younger than 2 months, we really worry about immunity – how vulnerable babies are to illness – so I recommend that parents not take their young infants into swimming pools, lakes, the ocean, and so on," Howard Reinstein M.D., a pediatrician suggested, according to Baby Center.
What's more, the doctor and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics told the source that babies shouldn't swim in a pool because they have a larger skin-to-body ratio compared to kids. This means that babies aren't able to regulate their body temperatures until they're about a year old. This is a problem whether the water is hot or cold. Babies can't talk, so they're unable to communicate if they're uncomfortable.
However, others believe that around six months is the appropriate age to introduce your baby to a swimming pool. According to Parenting.com, parents should consider signing babies up for swim lessons because many places offer infant classes. By the time your little girl or boy is nine months old, they're technically able to be taught how to swim from one adult to another for about five seconds.
Baby's first swim
Parents should make the choice to bring their babies in the pool a personal one because no two babies are the same. Whether you wait until they are a year old or you take a swim together at six months, you should ease them into the water gently.
Take advantage of bath time to prepare them for a dip in the pool. Pour a little water over your baby's head and hair but also let it splash on his or her face as well, suggested Parents.com. Once you think they're ready physically and mentally, get them ready for pool time by applying a baby-specific sunscreen and suiting them up in a little life vest.
Rules for the pool
Once it's time to get in the water, follow these rules suggested by Parents.com to keep you and your baby safe in the water:
- Stay close to your baby. Someone should always be in the water with him or her and you should remain physically touching your child for the safest swim.
- Avoid water wings and other flotation devices because they can knock your baby over. The little one should remain horizontal to assume the best swimming posture.
- Listen to your child when you're in the water. The experience is different for everyone and some will take to the water better than others. Don't make your baby stay in the water if he or she starts to cry. This could be an indicator that it's time for a diaper change or a meal.
Keep it clean
Once you've introduced your little one to the water for the first time, it's more important than ever to keep your water clean. Dirty water can host bacteria, which can make babies sick. Their immune systems aren't very strong and they're especially vulnerable.