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Pool Safety Tips For New Parents!
Congratulations! You just had your first baby. It’s a proud moment, isn’t it? There will now be a range of bonding and exploring adventures awaiting you with your newborn. One of the most fun – introducing your baby to the pool. Here are a few safety tips for that first experience with the water:
Prepare for the pool. The first thing to do is get ready with the practical details. There are a number of items to remember:
- Try to go out to the pool after your baby has taken care of her “business,” to limit accident possibilities.
- Wear approved infant pool diapers, because not all accidents can be predicted or avoided.
- Limit time outdoors – usually under 30 minutes, so the baby doesn’t get overexposed to the sun.
- Dress your baby in long sleeved clothes, and have her wear a hat, to minimize that sun exposure.
- Avoid being out at the pool between 10 AM and 4 PM, when the ultraviolet rays are the strongest.
Consider the temperature. Babies can’t regulate their body temperature until they are between 6 and 12 months old. It’s important to make sure the water is just right. The proper temperature is between 85 to 87 degrees. Avoid places like heated pools or hot tubs with your baby. On the cool side, if the water feels chilly to Mom, it will be too cold for the baby. Here are some sites with more great information:
How early? Since babies are vulnerable to infection, this is a good question to ask. A pool can contain bacteria which could cause diarrhea, which can be a very dangerous thing for a newborn. Therefore, a safe recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics is that a child 2 month old or younger not be taken into a pool.
Always hold the baby. It almost seems like an obvious statement, but is important enough that it needs to be mentioned. With a young one, the parent should always be holding them while they are in the water. There are inherent risks in being in the water, and it doesn’t take long for a child to take a gulp of water, panic, and be in real trouble. A leading cause of death in young children is drowning, so safety around the pool is definitely a serious issue. As the newborn grows and begins to crawl, that “touch supervision” means also keeping them close even near the water, when the child might be tempted to get back into that pool which was so much fun a little while ago.
The actual introduction. In addition to safety, there’s the issue of making sure a child’s introduction to the water is a positive experience. It will set the tone for their attitude toward water for the rest of their life. A good direction is to take your time, and allow the child to get used to the pool at their own pace. A good start is to play with the baby in the bath, and show them the joys of splashing and being in the water. Then when the time is right, take the baby out to the pool and watch their reaction. Have Dad hold the baby while Mom goes in the water and begins splashing and laughing. If the baby kicks her feet and reaches to Mom, make a handoff, and let her enjoyment begin. If the baby hesitates, that is a time to go slow and allow her to get used to the pool over several days.
You hold your baby in the water as she leans down and makes a big splash, laughing and smiling. It’s a special moment, and one that puts a smile on your face, isn’t it?
Kaitlin Gardner started AnApplePerDay.com to further her passion for a family friendly, green living lifestyle. She is married to her college sweetheart and lives in Pennsylvania. She and her husband enjoy going for long hikes, to get out and enjoy nature. She is working on her first book about ways to live an eco-friendly, healthy, natural life.