All About Babies

Super Silly (and Cute) Photos of Underwater Babies

Underwater Babies Seth Casteel book cover
A year ago, New York Times photographer Seth Casteel visited 18 swimming schools in 10 different states, and took photos of 750 babies learning to swim underwater.

Casteel had already published two adorable water-related photo books called Underwater Dogs and Underwater Puppies, and while working on those books, he learned a shocking fact: accidental drowning was the number one cause of death in the U.S. for kids under 5 years old.

The inspiration for his next book, Underwater Babies, struck. As he explained in his intro, he set out "to create a joyful, whimsical series of images of babies swimming to generate awareness about water safety for children." After capturing photos of babies during their swim lessons, some who were dropped directly into the water as part of a "self-rescue" techique created by Harvey Barnett in 1966, Casteel chose 67 photos for his book.

Related: 6 Swim-Safety Tips All Parents Should Know

What's amazing about the photos is that they all capture an unbelievably wide range of genuine, off-the-cuff, and hilarious expressions and poses made by babies underwater. The babies themselves range from ages 4 to 17 months, and some of them also stand out in colorful outfits that include scuba gear, a mermaid's tail, or a superhero mask. Speaking to TODAY, Casteel also revealed his amazement at capturing "a one-in-a-million shot" of 8-month-old twins Isabel and Sabrina holding hands underwater. But ultimately the process of photographing each baby was, as he also wrote in his intro, "astonishing to see, each and every time."

Check out the wonder-filled photos from Casteel's book below:

Underwater Babies Seth Casteel baby Zoe

 Zoe, 5 months

Underwater Babies Seth Casteel baby Colton

Colton, 11 months

Underwater Babies Seth Casteel baby Valentina

Valentina, 9 months

Underwater Babies Seth Casteel baby Michael

 Michael G., 12 months

Underwater Babies Seth Casteel baby Adeline

Adeline, 9 months

Underwater Babies Seth Casteel baby Warren

Warren M., 11 months

Underwater Babies Seth Casteel baby Ayla

Ayla, 7 months

Underwater Babies Seth Casteel baby Michael

Michael R., 4.5 months

Underwater Babies Seth Casteel baby Zelda

Zelda Mae, 7 months

Underwater Babies Seth Casteel baby Emerson

Emerson, 7 months

Underwater Babies Seth Casteel baby Claire

Claire, 7 months

Underwater Babies Seth Casteel baby Kyleigh

Khyleigh, 9 months

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Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com. She loves collecting children's picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea.

Photos featured from Underwater Babies by Seth Casteel, with permission of Little, Brown and CompanyCopyright © 2015. All rights reserved.