Finding baby-friendly swimming pools
Where babies (should) go to swim
Get the most out of your next trip — and make sure you've packed everything you need — by using the following three-part checklist:
Before you travel
Call potential destinations to determine whether or not their swimming facilities are suitable for your next visit with your baby. Some questions to ask include:
- Is there a separate baby pool or baby area? Swimming pools can become very lively. You may feel more comfortable swimming in a pool that keeps rowdier, older kids out.
- Is the pool zero-depth entry? A zero-depth entry means there are no steps or ladders. This is helpful for moms holding babies as well as for little ones who are toddling around on their own two feet.
- Where will you change the baby? Find out if the pool has bathrooms with changing tables or family changing rooms.
- Are flotation devices permitted? Wet babies are slippery! While many pools provide flotation devices, you may need to request them or bring your own. And remember, a flotation device never takes the place of your constant supervision — do not look away, even for an instant!
- Are toys provided? Depending on the age of your baby, you may find that some pool toys make swimming even more enjoyable.
When you arrive
Stroll through the swimming pool area before diving in to make your own observations.
- Is the water clean and clear? You should be able to see the bottom of the pool fairly easily.
- Are swim diapers required? Ideally, yes, and some pools even sell disposable, one-use swim diapers. The cleanest pools prohibit the changing of diapers anywhere near or around the swimming area.
- What is the water temperature? Babies need water that's about 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Is there a lifeguard on duty? An extra set of eyes is always a good idea when there are babies in the water.
In the pool
Before diving in, get answers to just a few more questions.
- What about towels? Most pools provide towels, but you may want to bring your own for the baby. A hooded towel will keep your baby's head warm and dry. Also, by using your own towels you'll protect your baby's tender skin from the harsh laundry detergent often found in pool towels.
- What about sunscreen? If you're swimming outdoors, remember to use sunscreen on babies over six months (and yourself!). For babies younger than six months, look for full shade or, better yet, indoor pools.
- What about safety? Babies can drown in less than an inch of water, so when you're in the pool, keep your little one at arm's length at all times.
You've done your homework and made sure the swimming pool is right for you and your baby. Now it's time to enjoy!
Fun with baby
Need more great ideas for spending quality time with your baby? Check out Baby's Day Out City Guide — you'll discover all the top baby-friendly destinations and how to enjoy them with your little one.