1. Holding on

2. Moving around the pool edge.

3. Climbing out

1. Holding on
This is an important safety skill to teach babies and toddler’s, so learn to support and keep themselves up, while holding on to the edge or the pool or bar.  This could potentially help them to save themselves if they fell in water.

Keywords: Hold on.

Under 4 months -Babies are born with Grip Reflex (hands curled up into fist shape).  

Parent uncurl baby’s fingers and putting them on the bar, saying “hold on”.  Parent must be careful that baby’s head doesn’t hit the wall . With small babies parents might find it easier to practice holding on, to woggles and hoops until baby is bigger.

4 Months and Up – Encouraging grip reflex transition to voluntary holding on.

  • Parent encourages baby/toddler to hold on the bar and side.  
  • Parent can use knee to support baby under seat, while helping baby put/keep hands on.
  • Parents support with one hand under the baby’s seat and other hand under baby’s arm, supporting upright position, hands stay on the bar/side.
  • Parent reduces support by gently removing the hand under baby’s arm, so they are just balancing on parents hand under seat.
  • Parents other hand can now correct balance and baby’s hands if they move off the bar/side.
  • Parent removes supporting hand from seat when baby is holding on well, and keeps hand just below baby’s seat (to catch if they let go).
  • Encourage baby to hold on for longer periods of time to build strength.
2. Moving around the pool edge.
Once babies and toddlers can support themselves holding on, we next want to teach them to move along the edge and bar. So potentially they could move to a safe/easy place to exit, if they fell in a couldn’t get out where they held on.

Keywords: Monkey, Monkey, Monkey.

  • Parents knee under baby’s seat and parent help baby move one hand then other up the bar, gently sliding and shuffling baby hands along the bar/side. (rather than lifting hands off and on).
  • Parent supports with one hand under seat, other hand correcting baby’s hands if they move off the bar/side, encouraging moving along the bar/side.
  • Parent gently removes support ( hand stays underneath, to catch if they let go) and encourages baby to move along independently.
  • Parent gently removes support and encourages baby to move along the bar/side.
  • Increase the time and length of moving along edge independently.
3. Climbing out
Parents aim should be for baby/toddler to be able to climb out of any pool independently. With both elbows on the side a older baby/ toddler should be able to cross their arms and leverage themselves up, getting there tummy on the side, staying low to the ground then getting their knee up and climbing out of the pool.

Keywords: Elbow, elbow, tummy, knee.

6-6 Months – no climbing out work.

6-12 Month  – Parent puts baby through the motions of climbing out while saying elbows, tummy, knee.  

1 – 2 years – Parent help and encourage baby to climb out at the side.

2-3 years – Parent reduces support given and encourages older baby/ toddler to independently climb out at the edge.

Remember to give opportunities at sides – with bar and without the bar!