Baby Swimming Lessons: Important Information

rsh_admin   >  22 December 2013

Did you know that your newborn baby possess the reflexes to swim and dive in water from day one? After roughly 6 months or so though, these reflexes begin to diminish. This doesn’t mean your little one is a perfectly safe swimmer prior to being half a year old, it just means your baby has a reflex which prevents him or her from breathing water into their lungs or immediately sinking.

So what age should we start swimming lessons?

The Australian Swimming Coaches & Teachers Association recommends babies be at least 4 months old prior to commencing formal lessons. This is to allow enough time to ensure bonding occurs between parent and child, and also to afford the baby’s medical history and immune system time to develop. However, this is not to say that your baby should avoid water until they are 4 months old.

Their natural affinity with water can be explored in the home, at bath time, just as soon as the umbilical cord has healed (usually after 1 or 2 weeks). If you have access to a bath tub, by all means get in there with your newborn and have a great time in the water. Not only does it make your little one more comfortable in the water, it has been said to strengthen the bond between parent and child, being face-to-face, skin-to-skin, touching the water together.

Why is it important to start lessons ASAP?

Early introduction to the water is encouraged because a child under age one is less influenced by negative attitudes about the water. It often takes longer for the child to get used to the teacher, the water, the distractions at the pool and submersion. With that said, however, it is better to start late than not at all, given the importance of teaching water safety to all children.

What are some other benefits of swimming lessons?

Your baby is able to exercise more muscles in the water, as he or she is less-restricted by gravity. This encourages early physical development which, in turn, manifests itself in the early acquisition of other physical skills, like walking, climbing and jumping.

A study conducted by the National Institute of Health in 2009 found that participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children aged 1-4 years. The NIH concluded that swimming lessons have a “preventative effect” and are a vital step in a complete preventative program.

Another study conducted in Germany, revealed that children who take year-round, formal, swimming lessons from a young age are better prepared for learning and schooling in later years.

Other important things to note:

  • Try to schedule naps for after swimming lessons, and if you can help it, try not to bring a tired child into the pool;
  • Ensure your baby hasn’t eaten in the past half hour to an hour, so as to avoid cramps or sickness. However, do bring an after-swim snack along with you if it fits within your baby’s feeding schedule.
  • Stock up on disposable swim nappies at around $30-$40 per pack of ten or grab a couple of Rashoodz reusable swim nappies instead (no other nappy needed!). Remember, what happens in a Rashoodz swim nappy, stays in a Rashoodz swim nappy. That goes for numbers 1s AND number 2s; and finally
  • BE SUNSAFE! Although there may be shade cloths covering the pool, sunlight and harmful UV Rays can be reflected and refracted towards your darling’s delicate skin. This is why we suggest using the old adage of “slip, slop, slap, seek, slide”. Slip on a Rashoodz UPF50+ rashsuit, slop on some high quality, water-resistant sunscreen, slap on the Rashoodz attached hat (yes they can swim in it, no worries!), seek the shade where possible and slide on some cool Rashoodz Shadez to complete the look.

The abovementioned items are all available at our online store www.rashoodz.com.au/shop-online now.

Sources:

  1. http://www.swimskills.com.au/faq.html
  2. http://www.babycentre.co.uk/x1048249/is-it-true-that-babies-are-born-with-the-ability-to-swim
  3. http://www.aquaticachievers.com.au/baby-faq-s
  4. http://brainworldmagazine.com/babies-can-swim-when-to-begin-swim-lessons-and-why/