When can I start swimming with my baby?
You can take your baby to the pool when they are a few months old to have fun in the water, to learn some safety measures like floating survival, and blowing bubbles with their mouth underwater (but not to swallow water). You can also teach your child to kick while holding them firmly. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, around the child’s first birthday, they can learn some basic swimming movements. However, until the child is four years old, it does not have a sufficient motor development to learn coordinated swimming movements.
It is very important to note that the fact that your baby feels relaxed in the water and learns to float does not mean that they are out of danger of drowning. You must always be with your child and either hold them up or keep them at a safe distance of your arm at all times. Don’t ever leave your child alone near a pool or even a smaller body of water, like a bucket with three fingers of water, not even for a second. In the United States, the rate of children drowning in water is higher among infants between one and two years of age. In Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas it is the leading cause of child death.
Therefore, if you want to bathe your baby in a pool, do so by following all safety precautions and with the aim of getting used to the water, rather than teaching them to swim, because the child may not be ready for it yet. Even when a child can swim a little, they may still be in danger of drowning if there is no constant adult supervision.
Swimming diapers are a good investment and in most pools are obligatory. Most pools also insist that babies wear swimsuits. Floats that are placed in the arms are not recommended for babies under a year. In fact, a float of any kind is never an accident insurance, and sometimes it’s even dangerous because it gives parents a false sense of security. A small child can easily slide down from a waist float and drown. For that reason, even if you put your baby on a float, you must keep them under supervision and an arm’s length away to be able to intervene immediately if there is a problem.