The weather is getting ever warmer, and that means it’s time to hit the pool. The cool, refreshing water can be exactly what is needed to escape the summer heat. But what about the baby? Parents of babies can be a little wary about their little ones being in the pool and for good reason. Playing in a pool can be dangerous for babies if you aren’t careful. The good news is that there are some fun, safe pool activities that are great for babies.
With all the time that babies spend on their backs thanks to the “Back to Sleep” movement, spending time on their tummies is increasingly important for physical development. Using a foam mat, you can put your baby on their tummy for some tummy time in the pool. This is a great way to help strengthen their neck and back muscles. Try moving it back and forth, slowly and gently, to help introduce them to the sensation of floating and moving in the water.
Reaching for Toys
Does your baby have a favorite toy (water-friendly, of course)? Try bringing it with you to the pool to encourage them to move around in the water. While you’re holding your baby, hold the toy a little out of reach. Then, encourage them to grab it and bring it to themselves. This helps them to start practicing stroke-like movements that they can use later on as they become more coordinated and ready to start learning to swim.
Gently Pull Through the Water
The other half of swimming is what happens with the legs. To encourage your baby to start getting a feeling for how kicking works for swimming, hold your baby while dangling their feet in the water. Gently pull them through the water to encourage them to kick and get used to the resistance the water provides. How fast you can or should go depends on the age and strength of your child. Pay close attention to them to tell how comfortable they are so you can make adjustments to what you’re doing as needed.
Babies and water can be a fun combination if you’re careful. Try doing some tummy time with them, help them reach for toys, and gently pull them through the water. With a little extra caution and care, you and your little one will be having so much fun in the water, you’ll be surprised at how fast the time flies.
A good time in the pool starts with drowning prevention. Check out our Drowning Prevention Workshop opportunities to see how you can get a workshop set up for your group.