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Get Your Baby Ready To Swim...

As I write this blog, it is hard to imagine summer. I have just taken down my Christmas decorations and I am wearing a scarf inside, not exactly thinking of hitting the pool for a leisurely swim. But really this is a good time to be thinking of swimming, especially if you have little ones (babies and toddlers) who are not yet comfortable in the water or don't have much exposure to it. Getting them ready to hit the pool come June can be a much more pleasurable experience with a minimal amount of effort now.

There is one fundamental element to swimming safely and effectively that remains true for 10 month olds or 90 year olds... to effectively swim you MUST have your face in the water. Swimming with your face in the water allows you to maximize energy output (nothing more exhausting than a doggie paddle) and keeps you in a horizontal orientation, that is, face in the water, legs stretched out behind, floating horizontal to the surface. This position allows you to move smoothly and effectively from point A to point B.

Unfortunately, many people are taught from infancy, all the WRONG things to do, beginning with swimming with their heads out of the water. They are taught to kick and paddle their arms to keep themselves afloat. The problem here is that as soon as you lift your face out of the water your legs begin to fall. The body drops into a vertical position and your whole body begins to sink. The amount of energy that is required in kicking and paddling to keep your head above the surface is exhausting for even grown ups and is the most ineffective and dangerous way to be in the water (especially for young children).

So how can you give your bundle of joy the best start to her swimming future? Get her used to having water in her face. There is no other way! There are plenty of parent/child swim programs that can help give your child a good introduction to the water but if you want to save the $100 you can do it at home as well.

This takes the form of pouring water over her head in the bathtub or letting the water fall over her head and onto her face in the shower. The more exposure she has to the water in her face the more she will adjust to it and the easier it will be for her to learn to swim safely and effectively. For slightly older babies, toddlers and children, encouraging them to put their entire face in the water (that means, forehead, eyes, nose and mouth, all in) will set them up to be quick learners in the pool. It seems simple, but the concept of keeping one’s mouth closed (we don”t want junior drinking the water while having her face in) and holding her breath is a learned skill that may take some time to acquire, so the more practice, the better!

If your child is one of those kids who just screams when water is around the advice still stands. The more exposure children have to the water, the easier it will be in the long run. Unlike other sports, learning to swim is a matter of safety. Getting children used to water in their face (in spite of their objections) is moving them in the right direction and towards the wonderful world of swimming.

For more information on Dawson Swimming and the instruction offered for 10 month old children to adult swimmers please visit my website at or email me at

The material and information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. You should not rely upon the material or information on the website as a substitute or basis for the advice or opinion of a medical or healthcare professional.Dawson Swimming makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information or services contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such material is strictly at your own risk. You should always check with a medical healthcare provider regarding your/your child's or another person's health and safety in and around water.

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