Babies swimming in pools is beneficial, safe, comforting and a wonderful bonding experience. A common concern is temperature and quality of water. Babies get cold faster than we do. A warmer pool is helpful, but within (28-31C/85-88F) is optimal. If on the colder side, limit exposure to 15-20 minutes, or until the baby’s lips turn slightly blueish or, of course, if they are crying. The pool is as safe for the baby as the bath tub. Chlorine, at an acceptable level, is safe for babies.
Being in the water is often a calming experience for them, unless the water is too cold, or the parent is nervous (babies pick up on that). Babies have no natural fear of the water. In fact, babies under 4 months instinctively hold their breath underwater, and have natural propulsive skills.
Before you take the plunge with your baby, first check with your pediatrician. If your baby has chronic ear infections or very dry skin, precautions or avoidance may be necessary. Keep in mind, there is more bacteria in a bath than a pool. For most babies it is sufficient to rinse and apply a high quality moisturizing cream post swim to keep babies’ skin hydrated.
Early and regular exposure to a pool has been shown to improve babies’ mental and physical development. Post swim naps are longer and appetite is often improved, both excellent side effects! But mainly, spending time in the water with your baby can be a profoundly bonding experience for both of you.