H.V. asks from Las Vegas, NV on May 11, 2008
We are taking our son (who will be 3.5 months old) to Florida at the end of the month. I'm wondering if it's okay to take him in a pool. I noticed swimming classes for babies don't usually start until 6 months and I wondered if anyone knew why. Any advice would be appreciated!
R.A. answers from Los Angeles on May 12, 2008
I think partly because you can't put sunscreen on babies younger than 6 mths. I used to take my girls in, but it was after 4pm, and only for 5-10 minutes. Hope this helped. :)
A.J. answers from Los Angeles on May 12, 2008
you can start as early as 6 weeks. Its best to try and avoid the chlorine, instead find a saline pool but not always possible. Just sunscreen and sun hat but 3.5 months old is def old enough to take a dip! have fun!!!
A.Q. answers from Honolulu on May 12, 2008
The reason you can't take babies swimming is you can't get water In their eyes/ears due to the bacteria presant in pool/ocean water. Also Sun screen isn't approved till babies are 6 mos min. If you do take baby in the pool just take care to maybe just dip her feet in with a wide brimmed hat on her. That's what I did :-)
L.S. answers from Los Angeles on May 12, 2008
I was told by the YMCA that 6 mos. is the age they feel that an infant will benefit/be able to learn from a "class." Younger babies may not be able to "learn" the moves, etc. Infants love water and can be in it from birth.
M.Z. answers from Los Angeles on May 12, 2008
HI H., I think they suggest to start swimming at 6 months because a babys skin any younger then that is usually so sensative that the chemicals in a pool will only make them irritated, and probably dry. My parents just changed their pool from the traditional chlorine to a salt water, and it leaves your skin smooth and soft, not dry. But not all public pools are salt water, so I think it is because of the water, same thing with using sun block before 6 months, most peds advise after 6 months to use sun block, again because their skin is very new and sensative. Just food for thought!
L.M. answers from Los Angeles on May 12, 2008
It is fine to take him in the pool at that age. As a swim instructor for the last 15 years I would recommend it. Just make sure you rinse him after you are done so the chlorine does not dry out his skin. Swim classes usually don't start until the are 6 months because that is when they can usually interact a little more and almost sit on their own. It just has to do with development not safety.
C.H. answers from Los Angeles on May 12, 2008
I don't know about age restrictions on babies swimming-- perhaps it varies from state to state-- but if your son is considered old enough, he will certainly need a life preserver and ought to have constant supervision when in the water.
At the beach one day about six years ago, my friend's four year-old son told his mom he was finished swimming and so she removed his life preserver. However, unbeknownst to her he then returned to the tidepool where he'd been playing and ended up drowning; tragically, his mother didn't realize he'd returned to the water 'til it was too late. I realize that your baby is too young to walk or swim away on his own, but I share this story in hope that it might help prevent similar tragedies.
N.L. answers from Los Angeles on May 12, 2008
We put our daughter in the Pool in Cancun when she was about 4.5 months old. We used a baby float ring and we holded the ring and took her around the pool. My daughter was not able to sit on her own either, but she did fine. Swimmimg classes also began @ 12 weeks as mommy and me class.
P.G. answers from Los Angeles on May 12, 2008
I know you are not supposed to put sunscreen on babies less than 6 mos., you're supposed to keep them in the shade. I would also avoid exposing a baby under 6 mos. to chlorine, their skin is so sensitive. It only takes 20-30 sec for what is on your skin to be absorbed into your bloodstream. Sunscreens over 30 spf may cause chemical burns on children.
A little about me: I have a 2yr boy & 5 mos old girl, have a stay at home business so I can raise my babies. Been married almost 3 yrs and lived in Florida for 5 yrs, if you want any advice on beaches let me know!
R.P. answers from Los Angeles on May 12, 2008
I'm sure you've gotten a ton of responses by now, but we had our son in swimming lessons at 3 months old (the Australian Swim Schools will start them at this age), and he did just fine. He's now 7 months old and loves to be in the water.
J.S. answers from Los Angeles on May 12, 2008
Fascinating that out of seven responses, thus far, no one has addressed the following issue: Is the pool outdoors? Will your baby be exposed to direct sunlight? I would be just as concerned, if not more, with sun exposure than with water temperature and chlorine levels. You want to be concerned about your son's exposure to direct sunlight. And although a hat will help with sun that hits from above, remember that the sun's rays reflect off of the water. Doctor's don't recommend using sunscreen until 6 months because of the chemicals that are in it - and the child's body that can absorb them - that's why you don't see too many newborns "taking in the rays".