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Baby's First Swim

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Summer is ideal for baby's first swim. You won't need to worry about finding a spot to dip your tot's toes on the water for the first time since lakes, pools and oceans are warm and inviting. Before you take the plunge with your baby, read on for safety tips and advice.

We're not talking about water birth, instead, we mean the first time you and baby play in the pool. Water play is a wonderful way to bond and stimulate your baby. We started our kids at the local YMCA's parent and baby class at six months. Here are our tips:

Start slowly. Don't expect a lengthy swim session the first time. Make it fun and quick--leave baby wanting more.
Have the right gear.Swim diapers or swimsuits specially designed to hold in feces are essential for health.
Temperature matters. A frigid ocean dip might scare baby off from the water for some time. Consider a warmer, calmer body of water.
Timing. Tired babies won't embrace the adventure. Experiment with a well rested child.
Smile. Baby takes cues from you. If you are all smiles and giggles, your child will be much less nervous. If you look fearful, guess what? So will your little swimmer.

Safety Notes:
Though drowning rates have slowly declined over the years, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years. The CDC has a great site filled with statistics and safety tips.

Here's a quick recap: 
Get a fence for your pool. According to the CDC, Most young children who drowned in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time.Barriers, such as pool fencing, can help prevent children from gaining access to the pool area without caregivers'?? awareness.
Wear a life jacket whenever boating. Most boating fatalities that occur are caused by drowning with 9 out of 10 drowning victims weren't wearing life jackets. We like the speedo model.
Learn CPR. Be in a position to give your child rescue breathing in an emergency.
Start swim lessons. The advice varies, but we say the earlier the better when it comes to teaching your kids water safety. Though most kids won't learn to swim until age 5, they can learn pool and boating safety. Some programs such as infant swim promise to teach safety to the tiniest tots--that's right at six month. For more information on this program visit

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