You asked

Can babies swim from birth?

When your baby is born, he has two reflexes – the swimming reflex and the dive reflex – that can make it seem that your baby knows instinctively how to swim. That’s not true, however.

The swimming reflex, for instance, is present in children six months and younger, and prompts your babies to move his or her arms and legs in a swimming motion when placed tummy side down in water.

The dive reflex, or the bradycardic response, means that young babies automatically hold their breath, and open their eyes, when pulled underwater. They have no control of this reflex, however, and although it is used when babies are taught to swim in some cases, it by no means indicates that your baby is safe to swim!

Aside from the risk of drowning if your child does swallow water, there’s also the chance that there might be bacteria present in the pool, and that can be dangerous too – so your child should never swallow pool water!

Pools are dangerous to infants, and if your child is going to be in one, it should always be supervised (ideally you would swim with your child, rather than be at pool-side, no matter what buoyancy aids are used), and you should always assume that your child does not know how to swim. So practice good pool safety.

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