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Article Swim Happy From Birth

When can I take my baby swimming?

Baby swimming is a fun and rewarding activity that leads on to form a habit that lasts a lifetime. Make it part of your routine by learning how to swim happy from birth.

At what age can babies go swimming?

Babies can go swimming at any age; NHS guidelines state that there's no need to wait until they have finished their course of immunisations. Take your baby as soon as you feel ready. Many mums find that a good time to try baby swimming is after their postnatal check when baby is around six weeks old is.

In fact, babies are born with natural reflexes that help them in the water. The dive reflex makes babies hold their breath and open their eyes when submerged in water, while the swimming reflex makes babies move their arms and legs in a swimming motion when supported tummy-side down in water.

If your baby is younger than six months old, take him to a pool that has been heated to 32 degrees C as any less than this will be too cold for your baby. To be sure, find your nearest 'Baby friendly pool'.

Baby swimming at 6 months

By six months your baby will have lost his natural swimming and dive reflexes but will be more resilient to water temperatures and more active and capable of trying new things.

Baby swimming classes start from around six weeks old, but if you haven't already tried one now is a good age to enrol. In class your baby will learn the foundations of swimming as well as how to stay safe in and around the water. Classes are also a good way of helping you form a habit of baby swimming.

1 year old swimming and beyond

As your little one becomes more mobile out of the water so that strength will transfer to the pool. Encourage his curiosity to explore the world around him by letting him explore the sensations of being in water, and the freedom to move around, splash and have fun.

The more you swim with you child when he's young, the more confident and able he'll become as he learns valuable skills that will last him a lifetime.