Besides being great exercise, swimming is a valuable life skill. Children are being encouraged to swim at an early age in an effort to help reduce drowning rates. The American Academy of Pediatrics says children ages 1-4 may be less likely to drown after having swimming instruction.
The AAP does not recommend mandatory swim lessons for the aforementioned age group at this time, however. Instead, the AAP advises that children age 4 and older should learn to swim.
“Children need to learn to swim,” Dr. Weiss, MD, FAAP, lead author of the AAP policy statement and technical report, says. “But even advanced swimming skills cannot ‘drown-proof’ a child of any age. Parents must also closely supervise their children around water and know how to perform CPR.”
With this in mind, babies are never too young to be in the water, but they must always be with a parent. Splashing around while holding your baby securely is a fun way to get him/her acclimated. Try bringing a floating toy into the pool for extra entertainment.
Try also to stay relaxed to keep your baby at ease. If the parent seems disturbed or uncomfortable the baby will follow suit.
Parents should avoid using inflatable swimming aids such as ‘floaties.’ Per the AAP, they can give children and parents a false sense of security.