Swim Safety (and Fun) for Babies

Just Add Water!

Baby standing in water

Amy Mikler

These do's and don'ts will get your babe in the swim of things.

Start him early.
Even a newborn can take a dip (but make sure not to wet his face, Dr. Weiss says).

Don't flinch.
"Body language says it all," says Lars Merseburg, a founder of Imagine Swimming School, in New York City. If you're relaxed, smiling, and making eye contact, Baby will learn that the water is a safe, fun place to be.

Set the mood.
Be sure the water is more bathtime than brrr (at least 83 degrees), stake out a calm, shallow area of the pool, and make sure Baby's rested. "If swim time interferes with his nap schedule, you can count on tears," Merseburg says.

Don't be pushy.
If he looks scared, ease off. "Take Baby out, tell him it's okay, and try later," advises Cheryl Wu, M.D., a pediatrician in New York City.

Introduce him slowly.
Hold Baby securely and use a cup to wet his skin so he adjusts to the temperature. Next, ease him in gradually by dipping his feet and the rest of his body--but go no further than chin-deep.

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