Baby Swim Tips

Introducing your baby to swimming pools is the first step in a lifelong journey that is filled with fun for both them and you. Enjoying the swimming pool with your little one brings special joy, and it's a great way to cool off during hot summer days.

Acclimating your baby to water can be a great bonding activity, and making them feel comfortable in the water at a young age is one of the best defenses against drowning. In addition, your baby can improve coordination, balance and gross-motor skills when they are introduced to water. 

Below are some great baby swim tips to ensure a positive, fun and safe environment for your little one. Here are the highlights:

Leslie's Calendar
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends swimming lessons starting at age 1.

Baby swim lessons face to face
When introducing your baby to the pool, always start with face-to-face positioning.

Cradle your baby in the pool.
Hold your baby on his/her back in a cradling position when you are in the pool.

The right time for swim lessons

If you’ve given your baby a bath in the bathtub, then that means they’re already familiar with how water feels! Does your baby cry during bath time or are they kicking their legs in excitement? Whatever the case, bath time is a definite indicator of whether your baby enjoys water or is still not quite comfortable with it.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends swimming lessons for all children starting at age 1.

Quality face-to-face time

When you’re bringing your baby into the pool, ensure that he or she is facing you at first. This will help calm your baby’s nerves. Your baby will have the ability to make eye contact with you and read your body language. So if you look relaxed, your baby will also feel relaxed inside the pool. This method, however, is not foolproof. Your baby might feel uneasy and start crying when they are initially inside the swimming pool. If this is the case, slowly introduce them to water day by day until they become familiar with the feeling of being inside a pool.

Cradle your baby in the pool

Many baby swim instructors will encourage parents to hold your baby on his or her back like you would in a bath. That way, the baby will feel as though he or she is in a familiar environment. Ensure that your baby’s back in firmly supported by your arm and cradle the back and bottom with both hands. Keep your baby’s body close to you so he or she is able to see you. Once again, eye contact is key to your baby feeling safe and secure in your proximity.

Other safety tips to remember

These tips below can be helpful for any person, but they are especially important to ensure a safe environment for your little one. Unfortunately, one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger, according to the Center for Disease and Control.

  • If you see a baby’s lips turn blue or they are shivering, then swim time needs to end. Babies lose heat faster than adults, so wrap them up tightly in a warm blanket when they are removed from the water.
  • Fever? Tummy issues? If your baby is feeling under the weather, forego the swimming lesson until he or she is better.
  • If your baby is recovering from being ill, it’s standard to wait a full 48 hours before he or she can get back into the water. This is especially important if your baby has had a stomach bug; we don’t want that waste inside the pool.
  • Millions of people suffer from allergies and skin conditions, so there is always a possibility that your baby’s skin might not agree with the chlorinated water. If that is the case, remove your baby from the pool water, consult your physician and talk to them about your baby’s skin and the aggravation caused by chlorinated pool. More than likely there is an allergy present.
  • If your baby’s skin doesn't react to the water, great! However, always be sure to rinse off the chlorinated water from your baby after every swim lesson. Apply a baby-friendly moisturizer as well.

We hope swim lessons with your little one are as fun as they are informative. And remember, both you and your baby need to be having fun! If your baby is just not a fan of the water after numerous attempts, take a break and try introducing them to water a little later in life.