While your tiny tot may not be walking yet, this in no way means they are not ready to begin splashing around in the pool. While you as a first time mom may be skeptical about enrolling your infant into lessons, swimming is fun and has proven benefits.
- 1 A Guide to Infant Swimming Lessons for New Moms
- 1.1 Infant Age and Swimming Ability Table
- 1.2 Infant Swimming Lesson Safety Tips
- 1.3 What are the Benefits of Infant Swimming Lessons?
- 1.4 When Can I Take my Infant to Swimming Lessons?
- 1.5 How Can I Ensure My Infant is Safe at Swimming Lessons?
- 1.6 What Should I Take to my Infant’s Swimming Lessons?
- 1.7 How Can I Make My Infant Feel More Confident in the Water?
- 1.8 Where Can I Buy Infant Swimming Costumes?
- 1.9 Popular Swimming Lesson Items
- 2 Infant Ear Infections
A Guide to Infant Swimming Lessons for New Moms
Before we delve into all types of information about swimming lessons for infants, it is important to first understand for the infant’s first two years at lessons, an adult will need to be present in the water. This means that when you enroll your child into lessons you will need to pick a time that you, your husband or the child’s caregiver are available to swim. The focus of lessons prior to two years old is fun and getting the child use to the water. This means that it is important that the child is comfortable with the adult who is taking them swimming. Most of the time, it will be a mother or father that take the child for their first swimming lessons.
Baby swim classes are usually group classes with a number of other parents and infants. This not only allows your infant to mix with other babies their age, but also allows the mother, father or caregiver of the child to mingle among other new parents.
Infant Age and Swimming Ability Table
Wondering What Activities Your Child Will be Able to Handle in Terms of Swimming Lessons?
The table below compares the age of the infant to the average swimming ability at that stage. This is only an average and there are many infants who will be unable to achieve the age appropriate swimming ability.
|Age of Infant||Swimming Ability|
|4 to 8 Months Old||Your infant may be able to float on their back with assistance as well as grip to the side rail and kick their legs.|
|8 to 12 Months Old||An infant in this age range should be able to pull themselves up independently (with a little assistance) and may start to roll and turn around in the water.|
|12 to 18 Months Old||Your child may be able to swim short distances unassisted.|
|18 to 24 Months Old||Your child should be able to swim slightly longer distances and climb out of the pool with ease. They may be able to pick up a pool ring by submerging their face in water.|
|2 to 3 Years Old||Your child may show interest in swimming with a kick board as well as floating on their back independently.|
|3 to 4 Years Old||Your child will have better control of their body movements in the water. They will begin to learn how to ‘freestyle’ swim.|
Infant Swimming Lesson Safety Tips
When taking your infant to swimming lessons it is important to be vigilant and alert. Infants are unable to swim unassisted so it is important to ensure you always keep their body close by to your own and only ever go as deep as you, yourself can stand. A child can drown in as little as 1 inch of water. From the day your child can understand you, stress the importance of walking around a pool and always wait for mom or dad before hoping in.
Once the lesson has finished it is important in being timely in drying and dressing your infant so that they do not catch a chill. Where possible, ask another relative to come and assist you to dress the infant so that you can change out of your wet clothes as well.
What are the Benefits of Infant Swimming Lessons?
Swimming lessons give the mother, father or caregiver an opportunity to engage one on one with the child. While the infant may not entirely understand that they are learning to swim yet, none the less they are becoming all the more confident in the water.
1) Exposing Your Child to Water Young Can Reduce the Risk of Drowning
While swimming lessons do not reduce the risk of drowning in children under 1, exposing them to water from an early age means that when they reach 4 years old they will be confident. A study has shown that children aged 4 who have been attending swimming lessons from a young age are far less likely to drown in a pool than those who have not yet attended lessons.
Drowning is still the leading cause of death in children under the age of 4 in countries around the world. Swimming lessons from an early age are even more important for those who have their own backyard pool.
It is important to note that even if your child has attended swimming lessons from a young age, no child should be left unsupervised in a pool area.
2) Swimming Can Improve Confidence
Swimming lessons can help children understand how to interact in a group environment as well as interacting with other adults and children. Swimming lessons may be the first activity your child attends where they will be able to see and interact with other children their age. Often children grow up knowing the other children in their class, sometimes making life long friends.
3) Swimming Can Improve Cognitive Functioning
When your infant is learning to swim, they will need to use arm movements along with kicking their legs. Cross-pattern movements build brain neurons. It has been proven that the cognitive functioning involved with swimming as an infant can help a child with: reading skills, academic and language development.
4) Swimming Allows the Parent/Caregiver to Spend Quality Time with the Infant
Swimming lessons promote one on one bonding time between the parent or caregiver and the child. This is especially important if the infant has other brothers or sisters in which he usually has to share his parents with. Even though the lesson may only go for half an hour to forty-five minutes, this time is purely focused on the individual child and their learning.
5) Improves Coordination
Swimming helps develop muscle development in infants and is great for cardiovascular health. While enjoying swimming lessons, your infant is also becoming more in touch with their coordination.
When Can I Take my Infant to Swimming Lessons?
You have been washing your infant with water in the bath from those early days, although when is it the right time to take them to a public pool?
Experts generally recommend waiting until the infant is 6 months of age prior to taking them for swimming lessons. This is not because the baby should not be in the pool until then, but is more so for their health. Up until 6 months of age the infants immune system is still fragile making chlorinated pools and lakes unsafe for those with undeveloped immunity. The last thing your infant needs to pick up is an infection.
You may also find now a days, most swim schools will not take children until they are at least 6 months of age. They may also ask to see your infants vaccination history. When your infant is a mere 6 months old, when you are looking for a swim school to enroll he or she into, it is best to find a heated pool. Not only will your child enjoy the lesson more if the pool is warm, but on those cold winters days, you may also dread the water if you’ve chosen a swim school without a heated pool.
It is important to start your infant early to ensure they do not develop a fear of water. Studies show that those children who are not exposed to pools and lakes until later in life, associate fear and negativity with swimming. If you have a heated family pool at home, there is no reason why you cannot start practicing with your bub before 6 months of age. Otherwise, if you do not have a pool at home, begin to look for a swimming class to enroll your child into once they are 6 months old.
How Can I Ensure My Infant is Safe at Swimming Lessons?
First and foremost, as mentioned earlier ensure you enroll your infant in a swimming class with a heated pool. If you have decided to enroll your child before they turn 6 months old, ensure the water is no cooler than 32 degrees Celsius. You should ensure right up to your babies shoulder is submerged for the lesson duration to ensure they do not catch a chill. If you notice that your infant begins to shiver in the water this means it’s probably time to get out.
If you notice that your baby is sick either vomiting or diarrhea they should not attend lessons. If your child has been sick wait at least 48 hours before attempting to complete a make-up swimming lesson. If your child is prone to eczema, ensure all chlorine water is washed off after lessons and moisturizer is applied if needed.
What Should I Take to my Infant’s Swimming Lessons?
You may be a little apprehensive once you’ve enrolled your infant into swimming lessons. Being prepared for the lesson will ensure that if an accident is to happen, you have the necessary items to clean it up. Below you can find a list of the must have items for an infant swimming lesson:
- Swim Diaper (nappies) x 2 – Always pack a spare swimming diaper in case an accident occurs. You may choose to use disposable swim diapers, or reusable swim diapers. Most centers will accept either as long as your child is wearing a swim diaper at all times.
- Adult Swimmers – Don’t forget to pack your own swimmers. You will need to hop in the water with your infant for the duration of the lesson.
- Infant Swimmers – Ensure you pack your infants swimmers that they can wear over their swim diaper.
- 2 x Diapers (nappies) – These will come in handy once the swimming lesson has finished.
- 1 x Pack of Wipes – In the event that your child has an accident, ensure you have some wipes packed.
- 1 x Set of Clean Clothes for You and Your Infant
- 2 x Towels
- 1 x Warm Bottle or Snack. If your child is still having bottles regularly ensure you have one ready for after the lesson is over. If your child does not consume bottles regularly, swimming is tiring and a snack will be much appreciated.
- 1 x Bottle of Water. Swimming lessons may make your child thirsty. Make sure you can offer them some hydration after the lesson is over.
How Can I Make My Infant Feel More Confident in the Water?
If you notice your infants lip is beginning to drop when he or she enters the water, the water is most likely too cold or he/she is frightened. Hold your infant close to your body to give them a sense of security. Talk to your infant the whole time to let them know that the activity they are undertaking is not so frightening after all. When your infant is showing more confidence, try laying his head on your shoulder so that he/she is floating on their back. Singing well-known nursery rhymes as you show your infant new water based activities can help them feel comforted.
If you wish to build your infants confidence prior to attending lessons, try taking them to the local heated pool (or if you have your own heated pool better yet!). You can try some of the following activities in a heated pool to build your infants water confidence:
- Pour warm water of your babies face gently while letting them know to close their eyes.
- Demonstrate to your child how to blow bubbles in the pool.
- Use a pool noodle or kick board to encourage your child to swim.
- Sit your child on the edge and count to three and tell them to jump to you.
Where Can I Buy Infant Swimming Costumes?
If your child will be attending a large swim school, you may find that the school has their own swimming accessories shop. It is here they will sell the appropriate swimming diapers and costumes for your infant. If you are sending your infant to a smaller school or one ran from a pop-up style location, you will need to purchase your infants swimmers elsewhere. One of the popular swim wear companies Zoggs have their range in many large stores such as Target. This is an international brand that can be purchased online from most countries.
If you choose to purchase disposable swim diapers, the large chain supermarkets generally sell these down the baby isle alongside normal diapers. Make sure you buy the right sized swimming diapers (nappies) for your child. Their will be a weight range that you can compare your child to.
Popular Swimming Lesson Items
Wondering what Baby Momma purchased for her infant son to attend swimming lessons? You can find our must-have infant swim items below:
Infant Ear Infections
Ear infections are commonly associated with swimming lessons in young children. You may be wondering why this activity and infection are associated and how you can prevent your child from getting an ear infection while they are swimming.
What is an Infant Ear Infection?
Ear infections are common among young children and often resolve without medication. The chance of your child having an ear infection within their first couple of years of life is high and while an ear infection is no reason to rush to emergency, a visit to the local GP may be in order.
There are two types of ear infections that occur in young children; middle ear infections and outer ear infections. The most common is the middle ear infection which occurs in the inner sides of the ear drum. The symptoms of ear infections in infants are usually mild unless the ear infection worsens.
While the middle ear infection is the more common of the two, it is actually the outer ear infection that is commonly caused by swimming which we’ll discuss a little later.
If your infant has an ear infection you may notice them:
- Tugging and pulling at their ear
- Finding it difficult to lye down
- Mild fever
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Difficulty hearing you
- Crying more than usual
If you suspect that your child has an ear infection, make an appointment to see a local doctor. While ear infections are generally not serious, they can be painful for young children. Antibiotics may be given to the child by a doctor to help clear up the infection sooner. Often ear infections will clear up on their own within a couple of days.
How is an Ear Infection Related to Swimming Lessons?
Often referred to as ‘Swimmer’s Ear’, an outer ear infection is commonly cause by water becoming embedded in the ear canal. The embedding of water in the ear canal is how swimming lessons and ear infections are commonly associated. Swimmers ear is often a short term ear infection where the infant may feel some pain and itchiness in the ear. This type of ear infection can generally be treated by a thorough drain and clean of the ear followed by a visit to the doctors for an antibiotic in cases that do not seem to be clearing up.
While Swimmer’s Ear is often associated with swimming lessons, this does not mean you should exclude your child from water play. It simply means you need to be vigilant and use preventive measures to ensure that your child does not fall ill with an ear infection.
How Can I Avoid my Baby Getting an Ear Infection?
If you have enrolled your child in swimming lessons, you should try to minimize the risk of Swimmer’s Ear by;
- Ensuring the water is filtered at the center you have enrolled your child in
- Use a swimming cap or earplugs if you notice your child is prone to ear infections
- Dry your child’s ears promptly after the lesson has finished
- Avoid over cleaning the ears with cotton tips as this can remove the protective layer (ear wax) from the child’s ears
Purchasing a simple ear infection preventive set such as the one below, will lessen your child’s risk of falling ill with an ear infection.