Now that it’s June and the weather is getting hot, I’m sure we’re all feeling ready to enjoy a summer break. If you happen to be visiting a cottage, taking some day trips to the coast/lakeshore, or lounging around the community pool, swimming safety will be an important aspect of summer vacation. Learning to swim is one of those life skills and there are many beneficial reasons why you should introduce your wee one to water early:
Comfort – the more exposure your baby has in the water the more comfortable he’ll be as he grows. Some kids have a hard time starting swimming lessons when they’re 3-4 years old if they haven’t been exposed to pools or open water yet. Your baby will develop a trust and comfort level the more you can get him safely introduced.
Bonding – swimming with your baby is an excellent way to strengthen your bond. Hold him close, skin-on-skin, and keep him upright when introducing him to water. His trust in you will help transfer to an understanding that the water can be safe.
Fun – swimming (in reality just splashing around at first) should be an entertaining and enjoyable experience. Smile and laugh with your baby, blow bubbles on the surface and maybe even try dunking him quickly underwater if you feel he’s ready. A trick to this is to blow in your baby’s face right before submerging him for a second. This instinctively makes babies gulp air and hold their breath.
And lastly, the focus of this post:
Safety – Most people will be around water at least a few times in their lives so knowing how to swim is critical if you get into a dangerous situation. It can be hard to always stay within arm’s reach when at the pool, on the dock, or in a boat, so start teaching the foundations of swimming and water safety as soon as you feel your baby is ready.
Favourite Baby Swim Gear
Here are some of my favourite essentials and fun gear when swimming with baby this summer:
Baby Sunscreen – Try to avoid having your baby in direct sunlight until he is at least 6 months old, and then after that ensure he is well covered and lathered up in your preferred baby sunscreen.
Baby Sun Hat – Protect that big bald head! Even if he has hair, the skin on the scalp is still extremely delicate so make sure to invest in a lightweight, wide brimmed sun hat for all your outdoor swimming excursions.
Swim Diapers - A regular diaper just doesn't work (try it for a laugh), so purchase either reusable or disposable swim diapers for your baby to wear in the water to help contain any accidents. There are many brands out there to choose from, just ensure it has snug fitting legs and a waistband to contain any mess.
Rash Guard Swimsuit – A great style to look for is the one-piece baby rash guard that has UPF 50 protection. These suits typically have long sleeves or legs for extra sun coverage, with zippers and snaps to make getting baby into it and swim diaper changes a whole lot easier.
Baby Float – This can be a useful piece of gear to get baby feeling comfortable in the water and letting him stay in longer since you won’t have to support him in your arms the whole time. There are a few things to consider when looking at baby floats: price, size, safety valves, canopies, etc. Once you’ve found your perfect float just remember to always supervise your baby in it and keep him within arm’s reach in case something happens.
Float Suit – These suits are meant for older babies/toddlers (1 year and up) and help position their bodies on top of the water and teach how to keep their heads up and use their legs. I preferred the ones with lightweight foam material in the body but you can also find inflatable options.
Life Jacket – Having baby in a life jacket when out in the boat will give you that extra sense of security and reassurance. Look for an infant life jacket that provides excellent head support, secure fastenings and high visibility.
Squirt Toys – There isn’t much of a safety aspect to squirt toys, however, the spraying, splashing and bonding with baby all contribute to him feeling more comfortable in the water and promote swimming development.
Baby's first swim is a milestone in the series of Wee Charm ribbons that parents can collect and attach to the Baby Charm Blanket. Record your baby's age at this developmental milestone and create a memory to last forever.
~A lovely blanket for baby. A cherished keepsake for parents~