When can my baby go in oceans, lakes, or rivers?

When can my baby go in oceans, lakes, or rivers?

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Bringing a baby younger than 2 months into the water can be especially risky, so it's a good idea to hold off for a bit if you have a newborn. "For newborns we really worry about immunity – how vulnerable babies are to illness – so I recommend that parents not take their infants into swimming pools, lakes, oceans, and so on," says Howard Reinstein, a pediatrician in Encino, California and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics

Newborns and older babies aren't able to regulate their body temperature very well either, so where you want to swim makes a difference too. If you're in Hawaii and the water's as warm as bath water, a baby older than 2 months can certainly get wet for a few minutes.

"But use common sense," says Reinstein. "If the water feels chilly to you, it will be really cold for your baby." If your baby starts to shiver or his lips turn blue, it's time to get out of the water.

Also choose a wading spot that's calm, clean, and protected by on-duty lifeguards. Oceans, lakes, and rivers can all have strong currents and waves that could make it difficult for you to hold onto your baby.

And don't let your baby drink the water. He could contract a "recreational water illness" caused by ingesting chemicals in the water or bacteria from human or animal feces. Catching a recreational water illness is a risk whether you're swimming in your community pool or a natural body of water.

You can do your part to cut the risk of spreading the germs that cause a recreational water illness by making sure your child takes frequent bathroom breaks or checking her diaper every hour or so. (Change diapers in the bathroom or designated diaper-changing area, not near the water.) Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before going back in for a swim.

And keep safety in mind – drowning and near-drowning accidents are the leading causes of death and injury in young children. Follow these safety tips whenever you're in or around water:

  • Practice "touch supervision." This means an adult should be within arm's reach of an infant or toddler at all times when near water.
  • Always hold your baby when you're in the water and stay where it's shallow enough for you to keep firm footing. Even then, it's not a bad idea to put a personal flotation device (PFD) on your baby in case your baby slips out of your arms.
  • If there's a swift current or undertow, don't let your child go near the water. In situations such as this, touch supervision may not be enough to prevent a child from being swept into the current or undertow.
  • Don't rely on swimming lessons to "drown-proof" your child. Even young children who know how to swim need close supervision.
  • The American Red Cross advises that children wear a properly fitting PFD that's approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. (Check the website for a list of manufacturers that make PFDs for young children.)

Watch the video: Teen Who Pushed Friend off Bridge Apologizes (May 2022).

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