family

Baby swim lessons

We recently enrolled our lil man into baby swim lessons. Some of our friends were a bit surprised when we told them and basically asked, “there are baby swim lessons?”

It never occurred to me that baby swim lessons were not “the norm”. So, I just tell them, yes. Yes, there are baby swim lessons and they’re mommy-and-me classes (or daddy-and-me). Then a couple people say, “wow that’s great!” and a couple say, “isn’t that dangerous?”

So, I did a  little bit of research on the topic and I was surprised to find more resources talking about why it might not be a good idea to put babies into swim lessons than for the idea. Or I guess I should say there are more concerns about it than there are sites that discuss why it’s a benefit.

Babyswimming.com has a page dedicated to the benefits of baby and toddler swimming. Ranging from increased concentration and alertness to better perceptual abilities in children who start swimming before 12 months of age.

There are a variety of pages that mention the increased possibility of babies developing asthma and respiratory allergies, but all indicate that there must be excessive exposure. Parentdish.com says excessive exposure would be along the lines of 20 hours or more exposure to chlorinated indoor pools for before their second birthday based on a study done in Belgium. In the same article though, they said do not keep infants away from the pool.

Both babycenter.com and parents.com say it’s okay to bring baby to swim lessons as long as they are over 6-months-old and are not attending formal swim lessons. Their swim lessons should more be about socialization and fun water games.

The overall gist – don’t be afraid to take your baby to swim lessons – BUT be aware of safety for your baby.

  • NEVER leave your baby unattended in the swimming pool.
  • Realize that a baby can drown in any amount of water whether it’s 8 feet or 1 inch of water.
  • Be aware of the chlorine level at the pool you’re going to take them into.
  • Check and see that the pool is well ventilated and not over-chlorinated.
  • Mommy-and-me or Daddy-and-me baby swim classes give babies exposure to water and swimming, but utilize it as a fun thing for them to participate in and bonding time with you not formal swim training.
  • Be aware of what the swim class is offering. No program can say that attending their swim lessons will decrease the chance of your baby drowning because as the American Academy of Pediatrics states on their site, children really aren’t developmentally ready for formal swim lessons until after they’re four years old.

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