Babies and Swimming

Keela - posted on 02/15/2009 ( 6 moms have responded )

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I have been wondering how soon I can or better yet when is it appropriate to take the baby swimming. I live in Oklahoma and summers are extremly hot and humid, since she is due May 2nd will I be able to take her to the pool this summer? What about the lake? Or should I skip this summer and start next year? I am clueless, but am worried about the sun, sunscreen, germs and the chemicals associated with swimming.

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[deleted account]

I was wondering the same thing, good question. I am from AZ and so much of summer life revolves around being outdoors and pools. All of my family who have raised numerous kids in this situation said that they have taken their kids in the pool at 2-3 months, as long as they were at an age of taking baths already. They do say Chlorine is not good for babies, but I would think the lake would be fine, although maybe a little cold. It is possible, but you know when is too much sun or what is too cold.

Good luck .

Dana - posted on 02/16/2009

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I have seen kids that are just a couple months old in our pool. I am due May 1st and our little guy is going to skip the pool this summer because they don't suggest sun screen on babies until they are over six months old.

I don't think the chemicals in the pool are going to be good for their little bodies.

And their bodies loose heat so quickly.

Allison - posted on 02/16/2009

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I've heard that children under 6 months should not be in a pool that has been treated with chlorine. I also don't like putting sunscreen on a baby under 6 months old myself. I'm in Phoenix, Az and it's very hot here, too, so I understand what you'll be dealing with. My lasr baby was born in March and by August we did take him in our own pool a few times during times when it was shady. This one is due in early May and I'm not planning on swimming with him at all this summer, I don't think. I have 2 other kids, though, so I might have to do it anyway. If I do, I'll probably get a water sling so I can carry the baby without worrying about dropping him and still have hands free for my other ones.

JacobandSara - posted on 02/16/2009

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As a Floridian mom, I can relate with the hot weather. Our son was born in December '07 and was in the pool in a baby-float in the spring. He loves the water! If he could take three baths a day he would! And I have already signed him up for swimming lessons. I know he's not going to learn how to swim, but its a way for both of us to cool off! Obviously if your child has a reaction to the chlorine or if your dr is completely against it, you should be careful. But I found that introducing my son to the water early was a great way for us to play outside without getting too hot! Also, I got waterproof, baby sunscreen and reapplied after a few hours if we were in and out. I know that it can be different with girls, since they are more prone to urinary infections but you just need to dry those areas and changes her bathing suit if you are going to be at the pool all day. As far as the lake is concerned, my son was in the Florida rivers at 6 months, but again he is a boy and isnt as prone to infections. Hope this helps :-)

[deleted account]

I hear if you can avoid a pool for the first year it is better for baby. I would think a lake would be out. Talk to your pediatrician, but I  know ours strongly recommended at least the first six months. Well the pool, Chicago and December don't mix well, so we made it almost a year. I think the chemicals could just irritate there sensitive skin more. Our first was 6/07 and baby #2 is due Mothers Day this year, so we won't be swimming in November either!

[deleted account]

As a former lifeguard, I've seen and helped with classes for moms and babies as early as 6 months, called "Mommy and Me" classes (at least here they are).  The classes are mostly for socialization though (as I'm sure you can guess-no one expects a baby to swim) and I've noticed that children don't respond well to the lessons until 4 or 5 years, at least not as far as actually holding their own in the water-before then, they have neither the motor skills or the cognitive skills needed to learn to swim.  That said, I've only ever seen or helped with indoor classes, and I'm not sure what the research (I'm sure there is some, somewhere) says about sunscreen.  There are other considerations though-the water should be really warm, because less body mass=higher chance of hypothermia; also, a baby that can hold its head up on its own is at less risk of swallowing water, and is easier for you to handle in the water.  In addition, we always asked parents to be sure that they gave their baby a bath before getting in and very soon after getting out of the water, in case their skin was sensitive to the chlorine (and that may even go for when they're older-I still have to do it, because I'm mildly allergic to chlorine and it makes my skin dry and itchy if I don't shower almost immediately after coming out of the pool.)  Speaking of cholorine-you'll want to be sure that the pool you're in is well-maintained: too-high levels of chlorine hurt the eyes (I'm sure you've experienced that before...) and too-low levels keep the chlorine from doing its work of killing germs.  Talking to a pediatrician about the matter would be ideal, and it might even be helpful to get in touch with a local organization, like the Y or the Red Cross.  They may have some sort of safety classes or some additional recommendations on when and how to introduce your child to the water. 

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