Tips for Taking Your Baby Swimming
How to Keep Baby Safe in the Pool
Whether your child is a natural water baby or takes a little more persuading to get into the water, swimming can be a great activity to enjoy together.
Taking your baby swimming is a great opportunity to bond with your child, as well as help them to build confidence in the water. Here are some top tips for taking your baby swimming.
Swimming with Baby in the Garden Pool
Many swimming classes for babies actually start as young as just six weeks old. This makes it the perfect activity for parents to enjoy with their newborn!
Timing is key however, so be sure to avoid nap time or just after meals to ensure your baby is able to enjoy the class as much as possible.
Here are some basic suggestions you might want to include in your baby's swimming kit:
- Swimming nappies (and regular nappies to change into afterwards)
- A hooded towel for added cosiness
- Pool toys (optional)
- Changing mat
- Post-swimming snacks and drink
Don't forget you will need a towel, swimsuit and possibly a snack too!
In order that both baby and parent or carer can relax in the water, being aware of safety is paramount. The temperature of the swimming pool water should be at 32 degrees for babies who are six months or below.
If you are unsure of the temperature of the water, the teacher or pool attendant will be able to double check this for you. Just as adults can get cold in the water, always make sure your baby is being held with their shoulders submerged. This should help them to feel safe, secure and warm.
Of course, you must keep hold of your little one in the water at all times! Babies will start to shiver if they feel chilly. If this happens, take them out of the water and get them warmed up in their hooded towel straightaway.
It is really important to do this as quickly as possible as a baby's body temperature can fall much faster than a grown-up's. Newborn baby classes will probably last around 10 to 20 minutes, building up to half an hour as your child gets a little bit older and more confident in the water.
There are times when it may not be a good idea to take your child swimming. If they are poorly or have a cold, it is not very sensible to take them into the water.
Moreover, if they have a rash or other skin irritation, this is also a time when swimming should be avoided. Chlorine in the water is essential for cleanliness, but it can irritate sensitive skins, especially when it comes to little ones.
Your GP can always advise when it is safe to resume swimming again and can prescribe creams or lotions for persistent sensitive skin issues. It is also a good idea to wait to go swimming if you have had a caesarean. Instead, allow your body to fully heal before taking your child swimming.
By planning ahead and being conscious of water safety, you can help to make your baby's first experience of swimming fun and enjoyable for you both.
Packing your swimming kit the day before the class gives you plenty of time to make sure you have everything and lessen the chance of last minute stress.
Taking a look round the pool together before starting your child in a class can also help you both to feel more familiar and comfortable with the swimming pool environment.
Many pools now also have a soft play area too, so you can always try this out first and let your child get used to the leisure centre environment before dipping their toe into the water for the very first time!