What age should you start baby swimming?
There is no hard fast rule to this, it really is a case of whenever you the parent is ready to start. It is never too early or late to take swim lessons as you can begin from only a few weeks old in a hydrotherapy pool. Very young babies can get cold quickly as they do not have enough body fat so make sure that the pool is heated to a suitable temperature.
The pool temperature should be a minimum of 32 degrees for babies under 3 months old or 30 degrees for babies over 12lbs. Water temperatures below 30 degrees, though they might feel warm to you, can cause your baby to chill too quickly and can pose a risk of hypothermia.
Young babies are born with a natural ability to hold their breath underwater, known as the ‘mammalian dive response’ Babies loose that reflex any time between 7- 9 months so it is good to get them in early to capitalise on this and make ‘water play’ a normal part of your babies activities.
Is it safe to start baby swimming before they have completed all immunisations?
Yes. It is perfectly safe for babies to start swimming from birth before having their immunisations. The diseases babies are vaccinated against are not carried in water. Babies can be taken swimming at any time regardless of where they are with their immunisation schedule. This is based on the recommendations of the HSE.
What are the benefits?
Swimming isn’t just fun, because of all the skin-to-skin contact, it’s also a terrific bonding activity to enhance the connection between you and your little one. Plus, because your baby can move without the restriction of gravity while in the water, they will be able to use muscles that they never use on dry land. Swimming can benefit both your baby’s strength and coordination but the most obvious benefit of teaching your child to swim is its potential life-saving swimming skills. There are numerous additional benefits of infant swimming; perhaps the most important of these are;
- Enhances general health & awareness
- Enhances eating and sleeping patterns
- Encourages physical, social & psychological development
- Strengthens cardio-respiratory functions
- Develops strength, stamina & agility
- It’s fun & social!
There is also scientific research to support the many benefits of swimming from and early age.
ScienceDaily (Nov. 16, 2012) — Children who learn how to swim at a young age are reaching many developmental milestones earlier than the norm
Researchers from the Griffith Institute for Educational Research in Australia found skills that are highly valuable in other learning environments and will be of considerable benefit for young children as they transition into pre-schools and school. As well as achieving physical milestones faster, children also scored significantly better in visual-motor skills such as cutting paper, colouring in and drawing lines and shapes, and many mathematically-related tasks. Their oral expression was also better as well as in the general areas of literacy and numeracy.
So what are you waiting for? For more information visit www.aquababies.ie or contact 018532989 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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