Swimming is an important life lesson that should be taught as early as possible. Babies and infants have natural instincts for water play that makes them extremely quick at learning how to swim. What’s more, it helps them to strengthen their muscles and improve their overall mobility. Perhaps most importantly, swimming is fun, especially for the little ones.
How Old Should My Baby Be Before Swimming?
Babies can’t swim straightaway. Like most skills, swimming is something that must be learned and developed. Most babies enjoy being in a swimming pool, splashing about in the water, and these are the first steps towards learning to swim.
While your baby can technically go into water from birth, there are certain precautions you should take. Very young babies (under two months old) are susceptible to infections from water, so it’s advisable to wait until they are at least 2 months before taking them swimming.
Even then, since babies are unable to regulate their body temperature, you need to make sure it's a specialist baby pool heated to about 33° C to prevent them from developing hypothermia. Large public pools are normally cooler than this, and therefore it’s not suitable to take your infant into these pools until they are six months.
What age can babies go underwater?
Once you’re happy to take your baby into the water, there’s nothing stopping them from going underwater, if they are comfortable doing so. Indeed, submersion – where babies are gently ducked under the water – is a key component of many swimming lessons. Some parents, grandparents, and carers worry that this can be risky for their baby and wonder why we do it in the first place.
First things first – there is no risk to the baby, or we wouldn’t even attempt it. Their natural gag reflex kicks in as soon as their heads go below water level. This ensures your baby will not inhale or swallow any water.
Why do swimming classes submerge babies?
As for why we do it – being comfortable with being submerged helps your child to be a better and more proficient swimmer as they grow. Most swimming strokes require you to keep your head fully or partially submerged, only breaking the surface for air. If your child experiences submersion from an early age, they will not panic later in life when expected to swim face down in the water.
Of course, we don’t submerge your baby immediately. Like all baby swimming lessons, it’s a matter of taking small steps to achieve the goal. This can include gentle splashing to the face, ducking into the water as high as the cheeks, and so on.
If you want join us in teaching your baby to swim, visit our term times page to to arrange your first lesson.
We look forward to seeing you.