You have decided to introduce your baby to water and swimming. As a parent, this is one of the best decisions you can make for your baby’s physical development, cognitive skills, as well as mental and emotional well being. You have a swim suit for your baby and a towel – is this enough?
Here is the best learn to swim gear for babies so they can learn to swim in a fun, gentle way:
To avoid a “number two” pool accident, have your baby wear swim diaper under their regular swim suit. Regular diapers will not work for swimming. Once they get soaked with water they will become very saggy and will not hold a number two accident. For swimming, your baby will need to wear swim diapers. There are two types: disposable or reusable swim diapers. It is up to you as a parent which kind you think works best for your baby and yourself (considering different prices, methods of disposal/cleaning etc).
Skin lotion to protect the baby’s skin from chlorine
Protect your baby’s sensitive skin from chlorine by applying lotion before swimming and rinsing off with warm water and mild soap right after swimming.
Swim suit/water clothes to keep the baby warm
At the pool, you want to keep your baby as comfortable and warm as possible. If your baby feels cold they may cry and not enjoy being in the water. Helping the baby be happy and enjoy being in the water is very important when introducing them to the water and learning to swim.
If the pool water is warm 86-90 degrees, your baby will probably be comfortable with a regular swim only.
If the temperature of the water is around 80-84 degrees, you may want to consider having the baby wear layers, to keep warm. Here’s how to layer the swim clothes: swim diaper, long sleeve shirt, a neoprene suit – the sleeveless ones are easier to put on.
Babies prefer to be held by the parent/caregiver in the water rather than being placed in a flotation device. We definitely recommend holding the baby in your arms so you can connect with them and help them get used to being in different positions in the water (on their belly, on their back, bobbing up and down) until the age of one – one and a half year old. For babies older than 18 months, we recommend using specific floats that aid in teaching babies to swim.
Not only they will make swimming more fun, but water toys will encourage your baby to move more through the water (to get to the toys), to grab on to them and experience with the different shapes and textures, and help improve hand eye coordination. Sprinkling and pouring toys, toys that make noises – all these will enhance your baby’s water experience.