Swimming Pool Safety For Toddlers & Newborns
When my daughter was a toddler, one of the fun moments we shared was when I introduced her to the family pool. I had done a lot of study about getting toddlers and newborns used to the water, and doing it safely. I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted to do it, and here are some of the things I did:
Start the introduction before the pool. When my precious baby and I took baths together, I knew I was getting her ready for the pool. I would hold her in my arms, reach my hand out and splash the water, laughing and giggling as I did it, and of course she mimicked me. She loved splashing, and I knew we had a blooming water baby on our hands. Here are some sites with more information about the process of introducing a baby to the water safely:
Mommy and me. I took my girl to a class where Moms and their babies got used to the water. It wasn’t so much about any learning – like teaching them how to swim – as it was about the babies seeing other babies having fun in the water. I made sure to find a class where I could hold my baby at all times, and the class was only 30 minutes long. I figured a short exposure to the water would leave her with a positive feeling. She loved the class!
Take care of the practical. I knew that the class would require swim diapers, so I equipped her with those, since I would also need them for our home pool. I made sure the class, and our early trips to the home pool, were at a time when she had taken care of her business, to minimize pool accident possibilities. I also limited our time at the pool so that we weren’t in the sun from 10 AM to 4 PM, when the ultraviolet rays are the highest.
A gradual introduction. I didn’t think it would take long for my baby to be ready for the water, and sure enough, it was a quick process. I had my husband sit a few feet from the pool, holding our baby, while I went in the water and splashed around happily. She was totally focused on me, and when she reached out her arms for me, my husband stepped over and put her in my arms. It was that simple. I had read that if a child hesitates, it’s a good time to go slow, but with our water baby, that wasn’t necessary.
Touch supervision. I held my baby the whole time we were in the water. I made sure I stayed in the shallow water, where I could maintain solid footing. I would hold her securely, then bob a little, so she could feel the lightness and freedom of movement the water provides. I smiled and laughed, just like we had done in the bathtub, and then leaned over so we could splash some. She loved it.
Think about water temperature. I read that a baby can’t regulate their body temperature until they are 6 to 12 months old, so warm water is a must. The simple test – if the water feels chilly for Mom, it’s too cool for the baby. My husband warmed our pool temperature until I knew it would be warm enough – around 84 to 86 degrees, and we had no problem with the water or my baby getting chilled. The short time we were in the water also helped in that regard.
I’m in the pool, holding my sweet baby, and it’s one of the most special experiences I’ve had with her so far. She splashes the water joyfully, and smiles up at me, and my heart just melts.
Becky Flanigan has lived near the beach since she was a kid. She gave up on surfing a while back, but enjoys walking the beach just as much as ever. Working freelance for www.anappleperday.com/, Becky always enjoys the challenge of a new writing assignment.