Finlay Davies Muir photographed by Jez Dixon for Water Babies

Babies are born ready to play, and water is a wonderful, natural sensory play area, where your baby can learn and have fun – especially in the summer. Giving your baby water confidence is the best way you can prepare them for swimming and being safe in the water for life.


Having spent nine months suspended in fluid in the womb, babies generally love the liberating sensation of floating freely in warm water and it’s never too early to get them in a pool – as long as the water’s warm enough, above 30 degrees for a baby older than 12 weeks (or heavier than 12lbs), and above 32 degrees if they’re younger or smaller. Popping on a warming wetsuit can really help those babies who feel the cold.

Six months to a year

Now your baby is more active, bath time starts to be an altogether more splashy experience! Encourage your baby to splash and kick. Trying showing them how to pour water from one cup to another, or use a watering can to sprinkle it.

Toddlers and beyond

Baths, paddling pools and sprinklers, your toddler will love water however it comes! You can buy all sorts of toys for bath times– boats, foam letters, crayons for drawing – but empty plastic bottles, pots and cups are just as good for pouring and experimenting. You can also teach your little one to blow bubbles and try making different sounds under the water.

Older babies and toddlers enjoy songs and water toys like plastic ducks and fish. If your child can walk, they may enjoy playing in the water where they can touch the bottom. Keep the mood light and let your toddler dictate the pace.

Kit for fun in the pool

  • Swim nappies
  • UV suit SPF 50+ for outdoor pools
  • Water resistant sun cream and a hat
  • Wetsuit for cooler pools
  • Toys – bath toys, inflatable balls, plastic floats

Holiday swimming

Heading to the beach? It’s safe to take your baby in the sea, although it’s not recommended for babies under six months because of the water temperature and saltiness.

Be aware of waves which can knock little ones over, so keep hold of them at all times, even if the water seems calm. You should stay in the shallows and make sure you don’t stay in too long.

Kit for fun in the sea

  • Swim nappies
  • UV suit SPF 50+
  • Wetsuit – should be a snug fit
  • Water resistant sun cream and a hat
  • Plastic ‘jelly’ shoes for jumping in the waves

Whatever you do with your babies this summer have fun and stay safe.

Water Babies London South East at or 020 8858 5242.