Pool time with baby

Summer is finally here and so is the hot weather. Read on for some useful tips to enjoy the season’s favourite activity: swimming with your baby!

One of the best activities you can do with your baby is swimming. Not only do most infants love the water—it reminds them of their own little private pool they inhabited for 9 months—but, there are countless benefits associated with swimming for your little one. Simply follow some general guidelines to know exactly what you’re wading into and have a splash of a time with your mini.

When to start

Use bath time as a way to get your baby well-acquainted with water for the first couple of months. You might want to join them in the tub to help them feel confident and relaxed. Try slowly trickling water over their face and get them used to the sensation. This introduction will help when it actually comes time to visit the swimming pool.


You’ll want to make sure your baby is in a good mood before venturing out to the pool. That means have them well-rested and well-fed at least an hour before. Also remember that one or two hours at the swimming pool is as much as a baby can handle. Have a snack or bottle ready for after the pool, as all this new activity will have them hungry and tired.

Water temperature

Babies are still learning to regulate their body temperature, so make sure the water is warm enough. If the water feels chilly to you, chances are it’s too cold for your baby. Either way, as soon as you detect shivering, it’s time to dry off. The temperature should be between 30 and 34 degrees; anything over 38 degrees is off-limits for children under three as they overheat quicker than older children. 

Water safety

Drowning and near drowning are leading causes of death and injury among young children. Any time you’re around any body of water with your kids, practice touch supervision; which means keeping no more than an arm’s length away from them. When you’re in the water, always hold your baby close. The water could get them excited and some babies will try to wiggle around, make sure you stay in the shallow end where you can step and have a steady grip on them. Once your baby learns to walk, teach them never to go in the water without adult supervision and never run anywhere near the pool. Don’t rely on inflatable toys to keep your child safe. Once they’re old enough, they can wear a personal flotation device that fits properly.

Sun exposure

Keep in mind that infants under 6 months should be kept out of the sun altogether. Their skin is too sensitive for sunscreen and they possess very little melanin—the natural skin pigment that provides some sun protection. It’s best to stay out of the sun when it’s at its highest intensity, that is between 10 am and 4 pm, so time your outdoor activities, like swimming, accordingly. Even for older babies that can wear sunscreen, look for a spot that offers shade between dips in the pool and make sure to cool off and stay appropriately hydrated.

Invest in lessons

The benefits of early swim lessons are countless. Studies suggest that children who take lessons some time from the age of 2 months to 4 years adapt better to new situations, have more self-confidence and are more independent than non-swimmers. The fact that they need to use both sides of the body (cross patterning movements) helps their brain grow and facilitates communication between one side of the brain and the other. Long-term benefits include improved literacy skills, academic learning and spatial awareness. While they’re little, you’ll notice swimming improves their sleeping patterns and appetite.

More than anything, this fun activity offers excellent parent-child bonding time, and an excuse for even more skin to skin. So put on your bathing suits and get splashing!

July 06, 2019 — James DiMiele