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Do Babies Know How To Swim?

baby swimming in pool with cute pool floaties for babies

Does my baby know how to swim?

Most people believe that babies know how to swim. At first thought, it makes complete sense.

After all, your baby was swimming in your womb, right?

It’s easy to understand why so many think a baby’s only activity before birth is swimming.

That doesn’t mean your baby is automatically an Olympian swimmer.

Instead, the answer to the question of whether or not babies know how to swim isn’t quite that simple.

Did my baby swim in the womb?

You see, when babies are born, they have a certain level of reflexes that help with survival. For example, nursing reflexes help babies eat.

There is also a reflex that helps them hold the fetal position. This reflex is required in the womb and continues for the first month. There is also a reflex that makes it appear that a baby knows how to swim.

Swimming is something that can be very beneficial for a baby to understand and achieve.

If your baby can swim, they can help save themselves if they accidentally fall underwater. Along with that, the swimming response plays with a lot of other reactions in the body.

Do babies know how to float?

These responses help a child maintain their bodily functions essential to survive extended periods underwater.

The Bradycardic Response

The Bradycardic response is the reflex that makes a child seem like they are swimming. It makes their body naturally hold their breath and swing their arms when they are underwater. This reflex is evident in more places than just water.

Before about six months, blowing in a child’s face will trigger this reflex.

Some babies even have the reflex triggered when turned on their belly. Although this is a natural reflex, it isn’t necessarily swimming.

Knowing how to swim can save your baby’s life.

This response is proven to help children who are unknowingly underwater. At an instinctual level, this response also allows children to survive in the womb, thereby helping to shape the survival-responses a baby has right after birth. The reaction that a child has right after birth is due to the immediate change in the environment.

Their nervous system knows to take a breath.

Just like how the evolution of the climate of being underwater triggers the quick response of the bradycardic response. Here is more information about the Bradycardic response.

This response has proven time and time again to help a child if they accidentally fall in the water. Although a child should never be near water by themselves, things do happen.

Can my baby drown?

Drowning is the number one cause of death before four years old.

My baby fell in the bathtub!

If you have a pool at your home, you should consider teaching your baby to swim.

Similarly, your baby might accidentally fall into the bathtub.

Many swimming techniques can help babies as young as six months old to help save themselves in the event they fall in the water.

These techniques play on the Bradycardic response and the physics of a child’s body. Naturally, a tummy floating face-up position can help a child keep their head above water long term in the even they fall in the water.

Knowing how to save yourself underwater is the difference between life and death. Your baby can protect itself from drowning.

When should I teach my baby how to swim?

Teach your baby how to swim at a young age to increase his/her success. Teaching a child to swim is a lot like teaching a child how to speak. It’s best to teach your baby how to swim at a young age. 

Children have a particular learning gap in the time that it is easy for them to pick up new things like swimming.

Will swimming help my baby walk?

Along with being able to pick up swimming more naturally, swimming lessons can increase cognitive function in basically all other areas, from language development to physical functioning. Swimming will build your baby’s muscle along with balance and improved coordination.

The earlier that a child learns how to swim, the more successful they will be at it. Swimming is essential to learn younger because it is something that they may need to know early in their lives.

Can my baby go underwater?

Children have a natural response when it comes to being underwater as well.

Their body responds to the reflexive response to help save their life.

Physiological Response

Their heart rate will slow, and they will be able to hold there breath longer. The reason is because of your baby’s blood resorting to keeping the most critical functions going and keeping the child alive.

For this reason, society often hears about children falling in the water or getting trapped underwater and being able to last over an hour. The body, your baby’s included, is set up with a reflexive response to help them survive these situations.

Everyone’s body has physical responses set up to help a child survive if they find themselves in a life-threatening situation. A child’s body will naturally respond if they are if it is needed.

Can I take my baby in the hot tub?

Just like anything else in life, there are always side effects. You should never take your baby in a hot tub. Your baby can quickly overheat.

The significant side effect of having your child in regular swimming lessons is that your child runs a higher risk of illness.

Can my baby swim in chlorine water?

Because water carries bacteria more naturally, and often your child will accidentally swallow or inhale water during lessons, your child may be at a higher risk for illness if they take swimming lessons. Along with that, swimming is exhausting and wears on the body. So your child may be more worn down than the average child if they are in regular swimming lessons.

However, counteracting this with vitamin c and a healthy sleep pattern can help with that. The benefits to a child knowing how to swim and being in regular swim lessons far outweigh the cons.

Extra Baby Swimming Tips

Taking a baby swimming with you can be a stressful experience. Depending on the location, there may be other kids or families present, which can add to the stress of the experience. However, despite some of the pressures, swimming with your baby can be a fun experience! Here are nine tips to consider before taking your baby swimming:

A checklist for bringing your baby to the beach:

The first step is to plan!

Make a list of all the items that you will need to take with you.

Your list would include things like:

  • Snacks
  • Floaties & lifejackets
  • Hat
  • Baby bottle
  • Sunscreen

Are you taking your baby to the ocean?

In addition to packing you and your baby’s bag, you should also plan. When you decide to take your baby swimming, you should put a lot of thought into the actual body of water which you want to visit.

For example, are you planning to visit a small pool at a friend or family member’s house? Are you going into the ocean?

At a friend’s house, you may not have to worry about the pool being overcrowded. Weighing the pros and cons of the different locations in which you can take your baby swimming will help you feel comfortable.

Test your baby’s pool floaties.

When you decide to take your baby swimming, it is essential to remember to pack floaties or a life jacket.

Make sure the floaties are free of holes.

Also, ensure your baby’s life jacket fits properly. You don’t want your baby struggling in the water.

A great tip for putting floaties on your baby is to wet the floaties before putting them on.

Bring a friend!

When taking your baby swimming, bring a friend or family member who likes to spend time with your baby.

This extra hand will help to alleviate some of the stress that comes with having your baby around water.

Plus, the help also makes things like bathroom breaks easier. Maybe you’ll even get some relaxation time for yourself!

Find a shaded area for your baby.

Consider how much shade you will have during your trip.

Will you need to bring an umbrella for shade?

If you are planning to visit a public pool, bring an umbrella with you, or rent a chair with an umbrella attached.

It is essential to keep your baby out of the sun and chill. Additionally, you’ll also feel better being in the shade and staying cool.

When you’re at your best, taking care of your baby is much more comfortable.

Bring plenty of water. Don’t rely on the drinking fountain.

What if the drinking fountain is broke? What if there are no vending machines where you’re going?

It is essential to keep hydrated, so don’t rely on anybody else for this crucial survival need, especially when it comes to your baby’s safety.

Remember those snacks you packed? Now those goodies come into play! Grab yourself a cold bottle of water, and make sure your baby is staying hydrated to remain energized.

Can I change my baby’s diaper at the pool?

Before taking your baby swimming, prepare a diaper bag.

There may not be an adequate changing table at a public pool, or there could be a long line. Packing a soft changing pad is a must, so you don’t have to lay your baby down on the rough and hot concrete.

Additionally, be sure to pack extra diapers or Pull-Ups. Even if you don’t end up needing to use your diaper bag, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you have it fully packed and ready to use.

Your baby might need naps.

Bring a car carrier so your baby can nap in an air-conditioned vehicle. However, never leave your baby alone in the car.

If it’s safe to nap outside, you can find a shady spot and set up camp there for a perfect nap! Bring your child’s favorite nap time blanket and get them a comfortable setup near your pool chair.

What are some excellent baby pool toys?

Consider bringing their favorite bath-time ducky or boat.

You may want to bring a pacifier or a noise-maker that will keep them busy during your swim adventures.

You can, of course, also bring water-safe toys that your baby can use in the pool. If you’re taking an older baby swimming, bring toys to play with outside in the grass.


So, can your baby swim? In the end, the answer isn’t that straight-forward. Many factors play into teaching infant swimming lessons and the reflexes required to navigate water successfully. There are certain reflexes that a child has to help save themselves if they fall into the water.

There are pros and cons to everything, including teaching your child to swim. Along with that, your baby is likely to be a better swimmer if you start at a younger age.

1 thought on “Do Babies Know How To Swim?”

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