Many parents believe that early swim lessons makes the child safer around water. A study done by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology shows that infant swimming has long range benefits. The L.A. Times points out that children who take swimming lessons as infants have greater balance and manual dexterity as late as age 4. In addition, infant swimming lessons help to prepare the child for a lifetime of healthy activity. But before taking the child into the water, it’s good to prepare. The most important aspect is to help the infant get used to water.
Take your infant into the shower with you. Make fun faces and show the infant that water is a joyous experience. As the water hits the baby’s face, he will learn to close his mouth and adjust his breathing. If your baby is old enough to sit up in the tub, try playing peek-a-boo by dragging a wet washcloth over his face. This helps him get used to moisture on his face as he learns to control his breathing.
Help your baby “float” on her back at home in the tub. Support the infant’s shoulders and gently move the little one through the water. If your infant seems startled or anxious, talk in a soothing voice so that she learns to relax and trust the natural buoyancy of the water.
Take the baby to the pool at least once before lessons begin. Show him how to blow bubbles in the water. Make your face as silly as possible so that he sees this as a game. If he can sit up, place small toys in a shallow part of the pool. Many babies will learn to put their faces in the water to look at the bright colors. But don’t force this on your infant. Keep the first pool experience as fun and happy as possible.
Pack a swim bag for the baby that includes a swim diaper, warm clothes to change into after the class and a bottle if needed. Even a short playtime in the pool will tire your baby out. It is very natural for the baby to be hungry and tired after any pool session.
According to a study done in the journal "Pediatrics," children who swam in chlorinated pools before the age of 2showed a 3 percent increased risk of bronchiolitis as well as an increased risk of developing asthma later in life.