We are taking our 12 week old daughter to the indoor pool tomorrow. We have:

  1. 1 disposable swim nappy
  2. A splash about happy nappy
  3. A neoprene baby warmer
  4. Towels, change of clothes etc.

We were just going to test putting her in her gear and hold her in the water. She was born in a birthing pool and likes baths so we think she'll enjoy this, but what else should we do/not do? Should she stay above water? Does she need to be bathed afterwards as it is a standard chlorinated UK public family pool?

  • 2
    You've noted that it's an indoor chlorinated pool, and in that case, I would suggest bathing afterwards, and limiting the number of trips you make to the pool for the first few years, really. Chlorine absorbs extremely quickly into skin (just Google chlorine absorption).
    – Noah
    Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 14:58
  • 1
    Looks like there is some debate on that Noah :-) skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/6539/…
    – conradj
    Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 21:19
  • Indoor pools, in addition to the chlorine content of the water, also have the drawback of poor ventilation (relative to open-air outdoor pools). While inhalation of the chemicals accounts for much less absorption in the body relative to water immersion, it's important to note that young children (infants and toddlers included) breathe significantly more air per unit of body weight than adults, and they absorb more through their skin than adults.
    – Noah
    Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 21:36
  • Everything in moderation, though our local indoor family pool is heated to 30.5C (86.9F), & our local outdoor pool is about 20C (68F)...
    – conradj
    Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 21:52
  • Outdoor pools in Scotland are rarely used...
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 8:17

2 Answers 2


We took our 3 along to indoor pools (in the UK) from a very early age. Useful points we learned:

  • kids that age get cold really fast, so make sure the kids pool is heated, or else watch for them getting cold and shivery: be ready with a fluffy towel and cuddles
  • Initially just hold them in the water, then bounce them to make splashes to help them get used to the water
  • Pull them around with you as you move around the pool - smiling/laughing if you get splashed helps them realise splashing is fine
  • After a couple of visits, start to get them used to having their face in the water. The recommendations we got from our kids swim club was to bounce them up and down, and on the third bounce, blow on their face just before letting them go under water. This makes them close their eyes and hold their breath for a short while so they don't breathe in
  • Once they enjoy this, you can try gently throwing the baby from one partner to the other (stand a couple of feet apart, not either side of the pool!) - this helps them get used to splashing without being held. Ours enjoyed this at about 6 - 9 months and it stood them in good stead for becoming really strong swimmers at an early age (the eldest 2 swim in county championships at age 11 and 13, and the youngest is the youngest girl in Scotland to pass all the SwiMark disciplines - so I think our approach is valid)
  • All of these are good suggestions but I thought I'd add that our kids' swim instructor taught us that you should always walk backwards in the water while holding the baby slightly away from and facing you so that the baby gets used to going forward in the water, arms extended. They also generally HATE being on their backs in the water-if yours doesn't,keep doing it so she/he never learns to hate it, if she does, just work on everything else. It'll come in time.
    – Jax
    Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 1:41
  • note that some places have warmer than normal pools for baby swim classes, that makes it a lot more comfortable for your baby. On the other hand, note that some places have 'hot tubs' and depending on how hot they get may NOT be appropriate for a 12 week old.
    – Ida
    Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 23:02

I would say bring some baby sunblocker. Even if you plan on being under an Umbrella. You can get burned even in the shade. Both my sons had alot of fun in the pool with me and their mommy there. They just didn't like it when everyone else was making alot of noise and splashing around.. But yes. for sure bring something for the sun! Also I wouldn't put her in a Saltwater pool. ( some pools around here are saltwater. )

  • 1
    Thanks! We're in the UK, so it's an indoors chlorinated pool. I'll update my question, but I'm sure this answer will be useful to the majority of the rest of the world!
    – conradj
    Commented May 31, 2014 at 19:48

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