No matter how many swim classes your baby has had, and no matter what his comfort and skill levels while in the water are, and no matter what kind of swimming float he is wearing, you should never, ever leave your baby unattended while in or near water -- not for even a second. Babies are unpredictable. They easily can fall into the water and drown even in water just a few inches deep.
Swimming lessons for babies have nothing whatsoever to do with reducing the risk of water hazards. As a matter of fact, they can increase the risk of water accidents when parents are lulled into thinking their baby is safer because he has had swimming lessons -- which is not the case.
Plus, swimming lessons, if they are successful, dispel your baby's natural wariness about water and make it more likely that he’ll explore on his own if given but a second. You are many years away from watching your child swim independently while you sit on the beach in a lounge chair.
Elizabeth Pantley is a mom of four, a parenting expert, attachment parenting supporter and the writer of several parenting books, including The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night and The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers. Elizabeth is a regular radio show guest and frequently quoted as a parenting expert in magazines such as Parents, Parenting, Working Mother, McCalls, Redbook and on over 50 parent-directed Web sites. She publishes a newsletter, Parent Tips, that's distributed in schools nationwide.
Copyright © Elizabeth Pantley. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.