A Baby's First Time in the Pool: What You Should Know

Many parents are looking forward to their little ones' first dip in the pool. Here are a few things to consider.
A Baby's First Time in the Pool: What You Should Know

Last update: 14 May, 2023

Many parents wonder when and how to go about the baby’s first time in the pool. The question is a serious one, as many things must be considered before, during, and after doing it.

When temperatures rise, it can be tempting to go with the whole family to the pool, including baby, and it shouldn’t be done before considering all the things that we’ll show you below.

5 tips for the baby’s first time in the pool

Before showing you some basic tips for the baby’s first time in the pool, we will first inquire into some reflections.

Experts agree that water is a great area for pleasure and fun for little ones. There’s tactile stimulation and the bond between the baby and the caregiver grows. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends avoiding contact with water during the first 24 hours after delivery.

It’s well known by specialists that bathing in children induces a decrease in transepidermal water loss (TEWL) in the hydration of the stratum corneum and in the pH of the skin surface.

In principle, this doesn’t greatly affect the skin barrier of the little ones, but it all depends on the frequency, the characteristics of the water, and the use of bath products.

Many parents approach the baby’s first time in the pool with the hope they may learn their first swimming skills.

Although it isn’t difficult to find programs that offer interactions, games, dynamics, and more in the pools with the aim of promoting the above, the truth is that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) doesn’t recommend lessons of this type before the baby turns one year old.

All this serves as a preamble to the recommendations for the baby’s first time in the pool. In principle, we suggest doing it only after 6 months of age, and taking into account the following criteria.

1. The water temperature

Babies are very sensitive to changes in temperature. This is because their thermoregulation system still isn’t fully developed, so hot and cold fluctuations have a greater impact on them. If the water in a swimming pool is cold for you, then you know it’ll be very cold for your baby.

Experts recommend that the pool temperature should always be above 30°C (86 F). Despite this, many variables come into play, such as the size and weight of the baby.

It isn’t considered safe for a baby to interact for long below this temperature, even when a slight drop is tolerable to you and others. You should have a towel on hand to cover the little one immediately after they get out.

2. Pool chemicals

In the baby's first time in the pool, be careful with chemicals
It’s to be expected that any pool will have its fair share of chemicals, so it pays to be cautious.

Various chemicals are used to keep the pool free of bacteria and algae. Evidence alerts us that the interaction with some of these, such as chlorine, increases the risk of bronchiolitis, asthma, and allergies in children.

Assessing the amount of chemicals is a basic consideration for the baby’s first time in the pool. Preventing their head from entering the water or from coming into contact with the mucous membranes reduces the associated risk.

3. Supervision and physical contact

At no time, and under no circumstances, should you take your eyes off your baby. Similarly, you shouldn’t break physical contact with them either.

Many parents want to test their little one’s natural swimming reflex, but this only increases the risk of drowning. You should always hold them with your hands and prevent them from exploring on their own, even when it’s only a few centimeters away.

4. Trust in floats and inflatable supports

The baby's first time in the pool has to have floats.
Despite the fact that the floats provide a certain sense of security, it is important to always be attentive to the baby.

The use of floats and inflatable supports can give many parents security at the time of the baby’s first bath in the pool. Despite this, these don’t replace the previous premise at all: attentive supervision and physical contact. Its use can convey a false sense of security that can have fatal repercussions in some contexts.

5. Weather

Finally, keep in mind that it isn’t recommended for babies to spend more than 10 minutes in a pool. Its temperature regulation system is still being fine-tuned; so it isn’t prudent to exceed the designated time. When the baby turns 12 months, it can take up to 30 minutes, although the ideal thing is never to take them to the suggested time limit.

Apart from all these recommendations, remember that a pool isn’t an ideal place for a baby. According to experts, among children ages 1 to 14 drowning is one of the top five causes of death.

In practice, it’s the leading cause of accidental death in children under five years of age. Even when you take all the measures, there’ll always be a risk of minimal carelessness.

The moment for the little one to swim and enjoy the water will come gradually. In addition to the danger of drowning, the risk of infections is considerably high. Activities inside the home or in a safe play space are the best option to protect your baby.

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