With temperatures warming and sweet summertime on the horizon, it’s time to enroll your baby in an infant swim class so you can enjoy plenty of family pool time. Getting your baby used to the water and teaching baby to swim can be fun for both of you, so here are some helpful water safety tips to make your time in the pool with your baby as safe and fun as possible.
Sign your Baby Up for Swim Lessons
Enroll your baby in a swimming class as early as 6 months old (See our list below). You can begin introducing your baby to the water—the bathtub is a great first experience—as early as you feel comfortable, as long as their belly button or circumcision has healed. The younger a baby is when he gets in the water, the more comfortable he’s likely to be in the pool. But remember, when in the pool, always use waterproof diapers and change them frequently.
Teach Your Child Pool Rules and Survival Skills.
Teach your child the basics of pool safety by the time he’s a toddler, including not running near pools, never going in or near the water without an adult, and how to reach for rescue lines if he’s ever struggling in the water. Most experts agree that children should know how to either float or tread water for at least a minute, jump into water over their head and return to the surface, know how to exit the pool without using a ladder, and turn around in a full circle and find an exit.
Watch Children Around Water Without Being Distracted.
Never turn your back on a child in the water—not even for a moment. And never leave your child unattended near water. Babies can drown in as little as one inch of water, so baby pools, wading pools, even bathtubs can be dangerous. If you want some uninterrupted pool time, use the mom buddy system and take turns at the pool being the undistracted watcher or relaxing. Keep a hand on babies and toddlers at all times while in the pool. Even strong swimmers under 5 should always be within arm’s length of an adult.
Know how to recognize the signs of dry drowning and secondary drowning.
Dry drowning is caused when someone, generally a child, breathes in water causing the vocal cords to spasm and close up cutting off the airway and causing difficulty breathing. Secondary drowning occurs when water gets in the lungs, irritating the lining of the lungs, and causing pulmonary edema. The signs of these rare conditions are: trouble breathing; coughing; sleepiness or a drop in energy level; irritability; chest pain; or vomiting. To prevent dry drowning and secondary drowning, never dunk a child under 3. Children can swallow large amounts of water quickly, and the experience might create a fear of the water.
Learn Infant & Child CPR
Learn how to properly perform CPR on children and babies. The technique for children is different from adults, so in order to learn correct technique, take a class at your local YMCA or American Red Cross chapter.
Make Pool Areas Safe
Taking safety precautions around pools can prevent accidents. Pools should be completely surrounded by a minimum 4-foot-high fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate. Safety covers should be placed on pools and hot tubs when not in use. Ladders and steps should be removed to prevent access. Finally, install a pool alarm that goes off if anyone enters the pool. Empty baby pools after each use, and store them upside down so they do not collect water.