Head of Marketing, Indian, mother of 19-month-old daughter
“I was taking my child to the pool when she was 5-6 months old. She was quite a happy bunny splashing in the water. I finally signed her up for swimming classes when she was about 14 months.
“It’s a personal decision [for parents to decide at what age their child should be introduced to swimming]. I have seen children as young as six months in my daughter’s class. It’s also a way for parents to spend time with the child with a fun activity.
“Parents need to make sure the child is safe and think what would work for their child. For example, my daughter fell ill a few times once the classes started, so it becomes a personal decision on how to pace it. Also, with Dubai weather, I prefer an indoor pool.”
Sara Al Hawary
Actress, Egyptian, mother of a 23-month-old son
“I was a swimmer myself. Back home we start lessons at an early age, so maybe it came naturally to me to teach my kid to love it as well. Also, I saw how much he enjoys his bath time so I wanted to take advantage of that and to not let him be afraid of the water. So I took him to a class when he was six months old, he even dunked on his first day and he didn’t cry.
“I believe there is no specific age [to enrol your baby]; the earlier the better but only if you feel your baby is ready and loves to be in the water.
“My baby loves the sand but is not a fan of the sea; he prefers the pool. I encourage parents to stay in the mommy/daddy and tots phase for a while and not just pass him on to an instructor as that will help him build confidence.
“If you decide to put your baby in a baby pool, you either need to be in there with him or have him in a floatie and keep your eyes fixed on him. Just always be there and around your kid for safety.”
Head of Marketing, mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter
“My daughter, Ayra, began her swimming classes at the age of three months. And very quickly, she showed us that she was a true water baby! Now, apart from the formal classes, Ayra also demands a few extra dips at the pool in our development.
“I wouldn’t think there is a specific age that could be relevant to every child - it depends on different factors.
“One of the most important factors is the comfort of the parent. I have been swimming since I was a child so introducing Ayra to a pool felt fairly organic to me and I was sure I would be able to keep her safe. General immunity of the child is also an important factor.
“Prolonged exposure to water can often cause recurring illnesses such as common cough and cold, and sometimes, even ear infections. So it might be a good idea to wait until the child develops a strong immune system.
“Taking a baby/child into water is a huge responsibility and the parent must be absolutely comfortable about taking it on. While you might think a three-month-old would need more supervision than a toddler, often, it is the other way round. Toddlers have a mind of their own; often hatching little plans that are more dangerous in water than on land. So always keep an eye on them.”