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Your Guide to Baby Swimming Lessons

When can babies learn to swim? Here's the 411 on infant swim lessons.

Watching baby grin and giggle as she splashes around in the tub is one of the cutest sights around, and may make you wonder—how soon can you sign up for baby swimming lessons? Maybe you have a pool, are planning a vacation or have just noticed that the bath is baby’s happy place. Infant swim lessons are designed to get kids comfortable in the water and teach them basic water safety. Here, experts weigh in on baby swimming—when and why to start lessons, what to consider when choosing a class and what you can do to make it smooth sailing from baby’s very first dip in the pool.

Why give baby swim lessons?

The most important reason to consider baby swimming lessons is safety. According to the CDC, there are some 3,536 drowning-related deaths annually, about one in five of which are children 14 and younger. So, while a one-year-old may not be able to swim laps, they can learn the skills they need to get to safety in the event that they fall in a pool, for example.

Rita Goldberg, CEO of British Swim School, says that too often parents take the “it couldn’t happen to me” mentality when it comes to drowning. “Parents say, ‘this tragedy could never happen to me because I’m very, very diligent,’ but sadly the people who have lost children are diligent.” Goldberg sees baby swimming lessons as a safety imperative. “It should not be a choice. It should be an absolute necessity. I put it on the same lines as wearing a seatbelt,” she says.

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