Skip to main content

When can babies go in the pool? What you need to know before summer starts

Have a safe and cool summer with these pool rules for your baby

An adult teaching a baby how to swim.
Arina P Habich / Shutterstock

Once the weather gets warmer, many families are eager to hit the pool for some relief from the heat, but those with young infants at home may find themselves wondering, “When can babies go in the pool?” Whether it’s signing up for local swimming classes to teach your little one basic water safety or for recreation and relaxation on a hot summer day, taking your baby in the pool can be a lot of fun.

There are, however, some basic guidelines experts recommend about how old your baby should be before they join the rest of the family. Before you go for a dip this summer, here’s what you need to know about when babies can go in the pool.

General guidelines

mom and baby swimming in pool
Evgeny Atamanenko / Shutterstock

Although the AAP has no official age recommendation for when babies can go in a pool, most pediatricians suggest waiting until an infant is at least 6 months old. One of the main reasons for this is that babies are typically able to hold their heads up on their own by this age, which is an important factor for their safety.

You may also want to minimize the time in the water at this young age, constantly monitoring your child to ensure they aren’t cold. If they do start to shiver make sure to take them out of the water and dry off immediately. You can also alternate time in the pool with time out to ensure your baby is comfortable and happy in the water. Chlorine typically isn’t a concern unless your baby has sensitive skin or is allergic. Just ensure you are rinsing the pool water off completely when they come out of the water.

Are infant swimming lessons necessary?

Baby swimming in a pool
FamVeld / Shutterstock

Sadly, drowning is the leading cause of death of children between the ages of 1 and 4, according to the CDC, but even with that data, the AAP still doesn’t recommend swimming lessons for any child under the age of 1 year old. They state that “there is currently no evidence that infant swim programs for babies under 1 year old lower their drowning risk,” adding that enrolling in a class that helps your child get comfortable in the water is a great idea, but it should not give parents a false sense of security.

How to keep your baby safe in the water

mom and baby swimming
Paul Hakimata Photography / Shutterstock

Keeping your baby safe in the pool means always being within arm’s reach of your baby, whether they’re in or out of the water. When bringing your baby into the water with you, ensure you’re in a comfortable position to be holding your child so you can have constant contact. If you’re somewhere where you could lose your footing, you could put your child in danger. Also, remember that inflatables may be fun and offer some buoyancy for your child, but anything other than a life jacket or personal flotation device should not be used as a flotation device.

Introducing your child to the water at an early age can help foster a love of swimming and splashing in the pool from as young as 6 months old. Teaching your child proper water safety and enrolling them in age-appropriate swimming lessons can help the entire family have a fun, safe summer.

Editors' Recommendations

Kelli Catana
Kelli is a freelance writer who has covered the world of entertainment, pop culture, parenting, and lifestyle for various…
What is the Ferber Method, and is sleep training safe for my baby?
Is sleep training using the Ferber Method right for your child? Learn more here
A baby awake in their crib in a sleep sack

One thing all new parents have in common is sleep deprivation. You can't really understand just how sleepless your nights, days, and everything in between can be with a new baby in the house until you're living it, but it doesn't take long to learn the hard way. Getting your baby to sleep can be a struggle, which is why many parents choose to sleep train their baby, often using something called the Ferber Method.
The Ferber Method is named for Richard Ferber, M.D., a pediatrician who created the method in the mid-80s and based his 1985 bestselling book,  on his methodology. If you've been struggling with sleep deprivation and are eager to get just a few hours of uninterrupted sleep, sleep training may be something to consider.

What is the Ferber Method?

Read more
When do babies start talking? Should you be concerned if yours isn’t?
Learn why baby babbling is music to a parent's ears
Father talking to his infant child

The first year of your baby's life is full of exciting milestones. Whether it's rolling over or a baby's first smile, every day seems to bring a new development. One milestone many parents anxiously await is their baby's first words. Will it be "mama" or "dada?" The more important question may be, "When do babies start talking?"

A baby's speech development actually begins at birth. The sounds they hear, including their parents talking, is a vital step in speech development. So, when should your baby be saying those exciting first words, and should you be worried if yours isn't talking yet?
When do babies start talking?

Read more
Your questions answered – everything you need to know about baby-led weaning
Guide to this trending solid introduction method
Baby eating solids in a highchair

Feeding your newborn is pretty straightforward. They only need human milk or formula for the first six months of their life to thrive. Once your baby is ready to start trying new foods, things can get a bit more complicated.
Parents shift to making or buying purees as they begin to introduce their little ones to solid foods. Cue caregivers pretending a spoon is an airplane and feeding their little child some version of oatmeal or pureed peas and sweet potatoes. These days, some parents are taking a different approach and introducing solids straight away. It’s known as baby-led weaning.
What is baby-led weaning? The method, developed by former public health nurse Gill Rapley, involves adults giving babies solid foods in their natural form and allowing them baby to self-feed. If a parent makes spaghetti, meatballs, and broccoli for dinner, the baby will eat it, too. Proponents say it respects a baby’s independence and food autonomy and may reduce picky eating.
It can also be a ton of food. Here’s what to know about baby-led weaning.

When do I start baby-led weaning?

Read more