One of my friends asked me my thoughts about going to a toddler swimming class with her 6 month old, so I wanted to update this post that I did back in Dec to show some new videos with more information, especially since summer is around the corner! Hope you decide to go for a swim with your little one!
I’ve heard about babies being able to tolerate being underwater without any complications, thought this video was great to watch. I would still hold my breath as I watched the babies go underwater. It was nice to see how calm parents and babies were with all that swimming!
Here’s some info about babies and swimming and the diving reflex from babycenter.com
Is it true that babies are born with the ability to swim and naturally know to hold their breath?
Babies have a pair of reflexes that can make them appear to be good swimmers: the dive reflex and the swimming reflex.
The dive reflex
This reflex, also called the bradycardic response, causes babies to hold their breath and open their eyes when submerged, says Jeffrey Wagener, a pediatric pulmonologist in Denver. Parents can get this same reaction by blowing in their baby’s face. The response weakens as a baby gets older, but even adults have it to some degree.
Swedish researchers studying the dive reflex in 21 infants between 4 to 12 months old found that none of them inhaled water or choked during “diving” (being pulled underwater). They also noted that the babies didn’t seem apprehensive about the next dive. In fact, some seemed eager to dive again!
Many infant swim programs rely on the dive reflex to allow babies to “swim” before they’re old enough to hold their breath intentionally.
The swimming reflex
Until around 6 months, babies placed in water tummy-side down will move their arms and legs in a swimming motion. When the swimming reflex and the dive reflex are both engaged, a baby can look like a natural swimmer.
Cautions about babies in water
“These reflexes don’t mean the baby can swim, though,” says Wagener. What’s more, they don’t protect a baby from drowning. (In addition to the risk of drowning, it’s dangerous for an infant to swallow large amounts of pool water.)
That said, some infants really enjoy splashing around in the water. So make swimming a family affair and stay hands-on when you take your baby for a swim.
Here are some great videos: 1st provides some information on a toddler swimming class, 2nd is about 9 month old twins who swim, 3rd is about an 8 month old who takes dips in the pool with her mom):
Categories: Child Development