Swim, Baby, Swim!

Suzanne Murray

summer vacation guide

baby swimmin glessonsHave you ever seen those photos of really young babies swimming around under water? I'd be afraid to toss my little one into a pool at that young an age. I did, though, sign up for swimming lessons last summer when she was six months old.

I'm glad I did. There's a lot of debate about babies and swimming lessons. Some people think they should be taught to swim to help protect against drowning. Others say swimming lessons too early in life could decrease a child's fear of water and give parents a false sense of security, thus increasing their child's chance of drowning. But when I read about a recent study that showed that kids who take swimming lessons are less likely to drown than those who don't, I was sold.

The class we took was 45 minutes long, and it was held at a local Y. The pool was just for kids—very shallow and incredibly warm. We played all kinds of water games and sang songs and my baby really seemed to like it.

So did she learn to swim? No, and that wasn't really the object. The idea was just to get her used to the water and familiar with kicking and moving her arms and blowing bubbles. She loved it and she got really excited when I got her dressed in her bathing suit in the morning. I really enjoyed having that special time with her. We'll definitely be going back again this year.

Does your baby like the water? Are you going to give him swimming lessons?

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