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Now that your baby has been born, you may be wondering when you can introduce them to the swimming pool. A nice day poolside can be a lot of fun for the whole family, including your baby. There are a lot of factors that play into whether or not a baby should get in a pool, however, and it’s more complicated than a simple answer of yes or no.
So, When can a baby get in a pool?
Babies typically can go into a pool soon after birth, however, there are several factors that impact if a baby should go into a pool:
- The weather – too cool or two breezy can make your baby too cold to be in the pool.
- The temperature of the pool water should be between 85°and 87° Fahrenheit.
- The type of pool (saltwater vs. freshwater) – A chlorine pool is seen as the safest option for a baby.
When deciding if you should take your baby swimming, you should keep a few things in mind. The temperature of the water can mean that your baby can get too cold or too warm. The type of pool (saltwater vs. chlorine) can impact your decision and you will also have to take into consideration if it is a public pool or private.
When Can A Baby Get In A Pool?
There are different recommendations for when a baby can go swimming in a pool. When deciding if you should allow your baby to swim in a swimming pool, you will have to access the situation and make your decision based on the recommendations for when a baby can go swimming.
The factors that come into play when deciding if you should take your baby swimming is the temperature of the pool, the type of pool, and the weather. Let’s explore these factors:
Temperature of The Water
Babies are not yet able to regulate their temperature so they are often wrapped in blankets to stay warm. The temperature of a pool can really impact an infant. Being too cold can cause them to shiver and lose body temperature. But also, a pool that is too warm can cause them to become overheated. So what temperature should the water be?
The temperature of the pool water should be between 85°and 87° Fahrenheit. If a pool is too cold, your baby will likely shiver and cry. If you find your baby crying and shivering, even if the pool is warm enough, take them out and wrap them in towels. Hot tubs and jacuzzis are absolutely off-limits until your baby is at least 3 although some don’t recommend them until the child is 13 years old. The hot water can cause a young baby to overheat so hot tubs and jacuzzis should not be used with a young baby.
Type of Pool (saltwater vs. chlorine)
One concern that you may have is what is safest for a baby, chlorine or saltwater? The chlorine may seem unsafe due to the chemicals but is a baby really safer in a more natural saltwater pool?
Actually, it is recommended that babies under 1-year-old are not submerged in a saltwater pool because their kidneys are not fully developed and would struggle to digest the salt. A baby ingesting a swallow of water can be toxic so babies should remain above the water’s surface to prevent any swallowing.
A chlorine pool is seen as the safest option for a baby. Most babies are able to swim in a chlorine pool without skin irritation. Sometimes, a baby’s eyes may become swollen and red if they open their eyes underwater. But a baby is safe to swallow the water and be submerged fully in a chlorine pool.
Better yet is a freshwater swimming hole such as a lake or river. This is completely natural and chlorine-free.
The weather of the day will impact your baby’s ability to go in a pool. The number one concern over a baby entering a pool is the temperature and weather. A shivering baby is never good and weather that is too cool can be miserable for the baby. It is best to swim on days over 90° Fahrenheit. Weather too cool or two breezy can make your baby too cold to be in the pool.
When can a baby get in a pool – Secondary Considerations
Private or Public Pool
Overall, it is a better idea to bring your baby to a private pool rather than a public pool. A public pool is likely unstable in temperature and is often crowded. Splashing can be an issue when you are in mixed company. A private pool can be confirmed to be safe and is less likely to involve splashing in your baby’s face.
Chlorine And Skin Irritation
A big concern of yours may be the possibility of skin irritation due to the chlorine. Rest assured though, most babies do not have a skin reaction to the chlorine. Chlorine is seen as safe for skin of all ages. There is one concern over red and swollen eyes, however, if the baby is not submerged and it is a private pool with no splashing, there shouldn’t be a problem.
Risk Of Infection
One concern you may have is the risk of infection. The jury is still out on whether or not swimming at a young age increases the risk of infection, some opt to withhold the pool until their baby is immunized and older. This is truly a personal choice.
Chemical Levels In A Pool
Chlorine pools rely on chemicals to keep the water safe and clean. Most germs are killed on contact with chlorine water which makes the risk of infection very low as compared to a saltwater pool. Here are some standards to make sure your pool meets before letting your baby swim:
- Chlorine concentration of 1 ppm
- Bromine concentration of 3 ppm
- Ph 7.2-7.8
Pool Cautions With a Baby
Here are a few tips about taking your baby to a pool:
- Their skin is ultra-sensitive to sunlight so stay in the shade as much as possible.
- Sunscreen is not recommended for babies under 6 months old. This means that you have to make sun exposure a top priority.
- Use a floatie or small boat to help you stay in control of your baby. They can become slippery in the water and hard to control.
- Always stay in the pool with your baby. They will need help staying afloat and safe.
- Do not put your baby in a pool for longer than 30 minutes.
Do Babies Know How To Swim?
It is believed that babies know how to swim because they hold their breath underwater, open their eyes and appear to tread water. However, a baby does not truly know how to swim. The reflex is called “bradycardic response” is responsible for the baby’s reflex of opening their eyes, holding their breath and treading water when submerged underwater. This does not mean that they know how to swim.
This reflex causes a baby to stay safe underwater and is a leftover reflex from being surrounded by the amniotic fluid in the womb. This doesn’t mean that they know how to swim though as they lack control, the ability to come up for air and the ability to float. A baby may appear to know how to swim but it is simply a reflex left over from the womb.
Can a Baby Be Taught How To Swim?
Infant swimming classes start as young as 4 weeks although they are typically targeted towards the goal of the infant learning to roll on their back. Most swimming lessons do not begin until 6 months and typically the instruction is about pool safety.
Getting your baby to swim classes as early as possible can prepare them for a life of swimming in a pool. The reaction of rolling over onto their back can save their life and the act of swimming can put them safely in a pool.
Photo by Anthony J