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Babywearing and Pools

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Have you ever used a baby carrier at a pool for a baby in the newborn to 3 month stage? If so, what did you use? The carrier is needed because I'd also have a 2.5 year old playing in the water, so my hands would definitely need to be semi-free. Ideally, baby would sleep/hang out in a car seat at the side of the pool (this pool is never that busy) sometimes, but having a carrier for part of the time would be nice.

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I used a JJ Cole Agility Stretch Carrier. It is incredibly small/light and slips on like a shirt so no wrapping or bulky fabric to contend with. It's my favorite carrier hands down but for the pool it was a life saver.

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I wouldn't submerge a 3 month old into a public pool. Therefore, no going in the water wearing a baby. If you slip and fall, not great for you or baby. Put the toddler in lessons, or have someone else watch the baby while you swim with the toddler.

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Babies in carriers are not allowed in our neighborhood pool. I can't imagine what would happen to the baby if mom were to fall or get hurt and the baby were to be submerged.

Skip the pool if you must, but don't do this.

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I’m assuming it would be against safety regulations.

You could put the older child in a life jacket instead. Or take turns taking them one at a time.

I did a 3 month old (ish?) and a 3 year old without much struggle. It’s quite easy to hold the baby in one arm when you need the other hand for the preschooler — because they float so you only need to position them, not lift/carry them.

Edited by bolt.

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If your 2 year old needs sudden help, how are you going to help him or her while wearing a baby? In an emergency there wouldn't be time to take the baby out of the carrier and put him or her somewhere safe and then jump into the pool to rescue a drowning child.

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I’ve done it,  but we were always in the shallows and I’d have just slipped baby out of the wrap on the edge of the pool to deal with a big kid. Which, maybe three seconds? It was never a big concern for us,  but we were all in the pool together and that’s just how it had to be.  The toddler was never very far from me and the bigger kids were being supervised by the lifeguard.  It was not against the regulations of our pool during our homdschool swim lessons.  We had to be in the pool with any toddlers or infants the entire time,  but carriers were permitted.

Edited by Arctic Mama

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2 hours ago, TechWife said:

Babies in carriers are not allowed in our neighborhood pool. I can't imagine what would happen to the baby if mom were to fall or get hurt and the baby were to be submerged.

Skip the pool if you must, but don't do this.


Mom could certainly fall when baby isn't in a carrier, so I am not sure what this has to do with anything. During open swim our pool allows pretty much any and all toys (not water guns). A carrier wouldn't phase anyone. While I appreciate that others may not be comfortable taking a baby and 2.5 yo to the pool, it is something I might be doing. Ideally, another adult will come with, but if that's not possible I am looking for other ways to make this easier. Also, I never said anything about submerging baby! We'd be in the zero-depth area of the pool. IOW, the water goes to about knee deep on me.

Our pool does not allow 2.5 yo to take lessons.

As for rescuing the 2 yo, I'd reach down and help him up. You know, because the baby will be in a car seat at the side of the pool or in a carrier so my hands will be free. I stay within arms reach of the toddler.

Thanks to the poster who responded with a recommendation.

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1 hour ago, JumpyTheFrog said:

If your 2 year old needs sudden help, how are you going to help him or her while wearing a baby? In an emergency there wouldn't be time to take the baby out of the carrier and put him or her somewhere safe and then jump into the pool to rescue a drowning child.

 

I would only do this in water where I could bend at the waist and lift the toddler without submerging the infant.  So kiddy pool or zero entry.  

I would also either want there there to be no easy access to deeper water (e.g. a gate around the kiddie pool) or a lifeguard, who would intervene if I screamed for help.  My guess is that in a reasonably busy pool if the toddler fell in and mom yelled for help, someone would scoop them out faster than I could take of a carrier and put the baby down.  The one time my toddler got in over his head, I was maybe 5 feet away, and someone still heard me yell and got to him before me.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Daria said:

 

I would only do this in water where I could bend at the waist and lift the toddler without submerging the infant.  So kiddy pool or zero entry. 


That is exactly my plan, if necessary. And our pool is unbelievably not busy. Most of the time there are less than 2 dozen people during open swim. So I am potentially comfortable with having a baby and toddler there. Now if we ever show up and it's super busy, we can just go home.

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I’ve done it but only in the kid pool with max depth of 1.2m.  I’ve also seen mums with mesh type carriers designed for this scenario.  A lot depends on the older child and how well they listen.  Having an extra set of hands and eyes is preferable though if it’s achievable.

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I gave birth at the beginning of August. All my other kids have summer bdays. So they would have been just turned 3, 5, 7 and the newborn. So yes, I know I went to the pond/beach (not a pool) without another adult.  The pond/beach does not allow arm floaties, life jackets, etc. However, lifeguards were on duty.

Is the pool zero entry? Similar to the pond/beach? Sometimes, I dragged my beach chair into the water and I sat in the chair with the newborn. Kids were instructed not to go past belly buttons.

Sometimes, I wore the newborn in a my Maya sling. I walked in the knee deep water following the kids around. I still encouraged the kids not to go past their belly buttons.  I know at some point I saw a sling made out of mesh-type material. I considered buying it but didn't because we don't really swim in September. So I would've only used it a month. Sorry, I cannot remember the name of the product. It was green.

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I've done it with a made-by-me mesh carrier (Ergo-type carrier) but that doesn't help you much.  If you won't be getting the carrier wet I think you could use any two shoulder carrier that supports baby's head well.  I think they make "summer' versions of Moby wraps and Baby K'tan...maybe one of those would be a good choice?  A mei tai would work too.

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This does not help, but, I got a mesh carrier at a garage sale for $2. But my baby was 6 months old when I used it. (she is nearly 17 now) 

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3 hours ago, barnwife said:

 


Mom could certainly fall when baby isn't in a carrier, so I am not sure what this has to do with anything.

If the baby is in a carrier, it is trapped and has no chance whatsoever. Mom would have to be rescued before baby could be rescued. Drowning resulting in brain damage or death is what can happen. If Mom is simply holding the baby, then baby can mom can be rescued at the same time. Ideally, though, baby would not be in the water unless it can receive undivided attention, and even then, it really isn't needed. I'll be blunt - Drowning is a real risk and to ignore it is to be foolish.

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3 hours ago, barnwife said:

 Also, I never said anything about submerging baby! We'd be in the zero-depth area of the pool. IOW, the water goes to about knee deep on me.

...

As for rescuing the 2 yo, I'd reach down and help him up. You know, because the baby will be in a car seat at the side of the pool or in a carrier so my hands will be free. I stay within arms reach of the toddler.

Thanks to the poster who responded with a recommendation.

If you fall and your baby is in a carrier or wrap, chances are your baby will be submerged. It doesn't take a lot of water for someone to drown - it takes a very small amount of water. Knee deep isn't "zero-depth."

Who is going to rescue you and the baby? 

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5 minutes ago, TechWife said:

 I'll be blunt - Drowning is a real risk and to ignore it is to be foolish.


This made me laugh. I mean, of course drowning is a risk anytime one is around water. It matters not if one is an infant, teen, or adult. To imply that someone who considers taking an infant and toddler to a pool is ignoring the risk of drowning is absurd. Frankly, I think at this point, you should be able to figure out that I've read your opinion and mine differs from yours.  But I'll be sure to remember that some random person(s) on the internet thinks I am irresponsible for considering such a notion.

 

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2 minutes ago, TechWife said:

If you fall and your baby is in a carrier or wrap, chances are your baby will be submerged. It doesn't take a lot of water for someone to drown - it takes a very small amount of water. Knee deep isn't "zero-depth."

Who is going to rescue you and the baby? 


A 3 month or under baby is going to be submerged if someone falls into the water holding them, whether they're in arms, or in a carrier.   I also think that most people who saw an adult fall  and not get up in a baby pool, would step in to help.  I know I would.  A kid can slip under in deep water pretty silently, but I can't imagine how a full grown adult could fall from a standing position in knee deep water without attracting attention, unless she's alone.

I think she means the zero-depth/beach entry portion of the pool that slants in, so there's no steps to go down and the water is quite shallow.  

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2 minutes ago, barnwife said:

 But I'll be sure to remember that some random person(s) on the internet thinks I am irresponsible for considering such a notion.

 

Good.

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5 minutes ago, TechWife said:

If you fall and your baby is in a carrier or wrap, chances are your baby will be submerged. It doesn't take a lot of water for someone to drown - it takes a very small amount of water. Knee deep isn't "zero-depth."

Who is going to rescue you and the baby? 

You know, in all the time I've spent at my local pool, I can't remember ever falling. I don't even remember seeing any other adults hanging out in the shallow end falling. That, of course, doesn't mean that it couldn't happen (to me or someone else). But of all the things I am going to stress over, this one isn't making the list tonight. If I need to be rescued while in the shallow end, I am quite sure our lifeguards can do it.

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2 minutes ago, Daria said:


A 3 month or under baby is going to be submerged if someone falls into the water holding them, whether they're in arms, or in a carrier.   I also think that most people who saw an adult fall  and not get up in a baby pool, would step in to help.  I know I would.  A kid can slip under in deep water pretty silently, but I can't imagine how a full grown adult could fall from a standing position in knee deep water without attracting attention, unless she's alone.

I think she means the zero-depth/beach entry portion of the pool that slants in, so there's no steps to go down and the water is quite shallow.  

Sure, I understand that. It seems to me that it would be much easier to rescue a baby that is not in a carrier, strapped to an adult that may or may not be conscious.

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1 minute ago, barnwife said:

You know, in all the time I've spent at my local pool, I can't remember ever falling. I don't even remember seeing any other adults hanging out in the shallow end falling. That, of course, doesn't mean that it couldn't happen (to me or someone else). But of all the things I am going to stress over, this one isn't making the list tonight. If I need to be rescued while in the shallow end, I am quite sure our lifeguards can do it.

I haven't seen an adult falling in the shallow end, either. However, what I have seen is kids in the PICU after they are rescued from a near-drowning event. Locally, there are one or two every summer.  It's a different perspective. That's all.

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1 hour ago, TechWife said:

If the baby is in a carrier, it is trapped and has no chance whatsoever. Mom would have to be rescued before baby could be rescued. Drowning resulting in brain damage or death is what can happen. If Mom is simply holding the baby, then baby can mom can be rescued at the same time. Ideally, though, baby would not be in the water unless it can receive undivided attention, and even then, it really isn't needed. I'll be blunt - Drowning is a real risk and to ignore it is to be foolish.

.....

 

Okay let’s weigh risk here.  The pools we are talking about are zero entry with handicapped ramps and the deepest water depth is three feet.  Bigger kids and stronger swimmers were three feet away in a standard Olympic lap pool that was watched by life guards.  Toddlers, infants, preschoolers, all had to have mom in the water with them at all times.  And yes, babies were worn in slings or wraps and carried in arms, both.  I attended this set of swim lessons with seventy other homeschool families involved for years.  And it went on many years before I came on the scene - my husband learned to swim in the same classes.

 

NEVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE SCHOOL’S SWIM SESSIONS DID AN INFANT, TODDLER, PRESCHOOLER, OR OTHER NON-SWIMMING CHILD END UP WITH A HYPOXIC BRAIN INJURY FROM DROWNING.  Not even a near drowning.  If I recall even among the bigger kids with the diving board the instances of life guard interventions during class and free swim time was three in the years I attended, and none of those were emergent but precautionary or to enforce horseplay rules.  

 

Yes.  It’s possible.  But getting hit in your stroller in the parking lot of that high school while trying to be walked INTO those lessons was by far a more risky and likely issue than water related injuries. And many of us has four or more children in lessons or the kiddie pool - lots to keep track of.  But swim days with infants on mom were the way it was done and extremely safe - that’s why we all DID it.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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10 minutes ago, TechWife said:

I haven't seen an adult falling in the shallow end, either. However, what I have seen is kids in the PICU after they are rescued from a near-drowning event. Locally, there are one or two every summer.  It's a different perspective. That's all.

And how many of those were happening with mom right next to them on the water or in a carrier?  Apples and oranges, the instances of near drownings we see in our hypoxia group are usually when a child is unattended and slips under or in open water.  Not during lessons or in a small pool with mom and dad assisting.  It does matter.

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They make a water mesh soft structured carrier. My friend used to have one and I would borrow it sometimes when I went to the pool back when I had babies. It was so long ago and I did not buy it so I do not remember the name or if they still would make it. I am not sure why this got so much negativity. I always been super cautious around pools and other bodies of water but I really do not get all the responses saying that it is so dangerous to use a baby carrier in the pool. I am guessing this is walking around in a section that is not very deep and you have the baby in a carrier and the toddler right there in view at all times. The hands are free with a baby in a carrier. 

Edited by MistyMountain

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Amazon has options that you can look at.  I bought one of the cheaper mesh ring slings and sent it back.  It was flimsy.  After that I would just use my regular ring sling since we were mostly by the pool or just wading near the zero entry.  Do you have a local babywearer's group?  Sometimes they have lending libraries of carriers.   

Edited by Starfish

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10 hours ago, TechWife said:

I haven't seen an adult falling in the shallow end, either. However, what I have seen is kids in the PICU after they are rescued from a near-drowning event. Locally, there are one or two every summer.  It's a different perspective. That's all.


I guess I think the risk to the toddler without baby wearing is greater than the risk to an infant.  If the parent's attention is divided between an infant on the side of the pool and a toddler in the pool, or if their hands are too full to grab a toddler who slips away to deeper water, drowning could happen very quickly, and that seems much more likely than an adult falling just right while standing in shallow water.

Edited by Daria
Realized it wasn’t clear that this was in support of the idea.
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https://5mr.com/products/beachfront-baby-water-wrap-made-from-repreve

https://5mr.com/products/beachfront-baby-sling-water-ring-sling

kokadi also makes a water meh dai, but you have to be super lucky to find one since they don’t sell them in this country

eta: if you have a babywearjng group near you, you can try them and borrow them.  They will seem much different than regular fabric because they are a thin, quick-dry thing.  Not for hours of wearing with 25 pounds!

Edited by Ailaena
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Not sure if it's been mentioned but they do make certain carriers specifically for water. I think it's a mesh ring sling? That's the only one I've seen, anyway. I don't know brand names, sorry. I have only ever used soft structured carriers, but not in water. They are very particular about how they are handled during washing so even if safety or balance wasn't a concern, chlorine would be. 

 

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Thanks to those who have actually answered the question in my OP.

Yes, taking an infant and toddler to a pool is risky. So is walking across the street, driving a car, flying in plane, and sleeping in your bed. It is obvious that I weigh the risks of going to the pool differently from some others. That doesn't bother me at all!

 

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15 minutes ago, barnwife said:

Thanks to those who have actually answered the question in my OP.

Yes, taking an infant and toddler to a pool is risky. So is walking across the street, driving a car, flying in plane, and sleeping in your bed. It is obvious that I weigh the risks of going to the pool differently from some others. That doesn't bother me at all!

Your personal perspective, while powerful to you, has nothing to do with ACTUAL risk and consequences. Check out some stats on infant and toddler drowning and see if you are prepared to have your own children join the numbers. I lost an uncle to infant drowning in a bucket of laundry rinse water. Drowning is real to me.

OR

Look at other completely viable options so that you reduce risk of drowning rather than increase it. 

Edited by wintermom
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13 minutes ago, wintermom said:

Your personal perspective, while powerful to you, has nothing to do with ACTUAL risk and consequences. Check out some stats on infant and toddler drowning and see if you are prepared to have your own children join the numbers. I lost an uncle to infant drowning in a bucket of laundry rinse water. Drowning is real to me.

OR

Look at other completely viable options so that you reduce risk of drowning rather than increase it. 

 

What are the stats on drowning by non-mobile infants?  My guess is that your uncle was old enough to crawl to that bucket, and that babywearing wasn’t a factor.  If whoever was doing the laundry had held him it might have been life saving.

Like a PP, we have kids who drown every summer here, but it isn’t tiny infants.  

 

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42 minutes ago, wintermom said:

Your personal perspective, while powerful to you, has nothing to do with ACTUAL risk and consequences. Check out some stats on infant and toddler drowning and see if you are prepared to have your own children join the numbers. I lost an uncle to infant drowning in a bucket of laundry rinse water. Drowning is real to me.

OR

Look at other completely viable options so that you reduce risk of drowning rather than increase it. 


Your personal anecdote is tragic and I am sorry that your family dealt with that. But it has absolutely nothing to do with my OP other than they both involve people and water. Was an adult within arms reach of him at the time? Was there also a lifeguard present?

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I don't think I've done it with a DC so young, but I've used a mesh Ring Sling and a Boba Air.    The mesh ring sling worked better when wet, though, as it felt less slippery (than when dry) ... but in general, I also prefer a 2 shoulder carry than a 1 shoulder carry.

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Years ago I took my < 3 month old to the pool in a mesh sling. I would sit on the side while my 2 and 4 year old kids swam around my legs. I was cautious about getting in however, because once I got out  to sit back on the side, or even just stand in knee deep water, the baby didn’t like being in a wet sling. 

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I had a newborn and a 3 1/2 year old in the pool. It was an extended-stay hotel, so the pool was ours during the day. My daughter kicked around in a seated floaty while my sun nursed or slept in his stroller. My eyes stayed on his sister. I would have tossed him in his stroller if I had to jump in. We did this for a month. 

When we got home, we mostly did the kiddie pool. I’d just hold my son in one arm while walking around and tending to Dd with the other. I’m not sure this would’ve worked if their birth order was reversed. Dd was a little adult as a toddler, but a very high need infant. Ds was a dream baby, but a maniac toddler. 

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7 hours ago, Daria said:

 

What are the stats on drowning by non-mobile infants?  My guess is that your uncle was old enough to crawl to that bucket, and that babywearing wasn’t a factor.  If whoever was doing the laundry had held him it might have been life saving.

Like a PP, we have kids who drown every summer here, but it isn’t tiny infants.  

 

Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death in children 1 to 4 years old and the second- leading cause in kids ages 1 to 15. About 1,000 American children die every year from unintentional drowning.

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10 minutes ago, wintermom said:

Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death in children 1 to 4 years old and the second- leading cause in kids ages 1 to 15. About 1,000 American children die every year from unintentional drowning.

There is a reason why the risk statistics start at 1 and not zero.  The children drowning in these horrific accidents aren’t 2 month olds in slings.  They are kids who can crawl or walk or are otherwise mobile and get away from a parent or caregiver.  

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12 minutes ago, Daria said:

There is a reason why the risk statistics start at 1 and not zero.  The children drowning in these horrific accidents aren’t 2 month olds in slings.  They are kids who can crawl or walk or are otherwise mobile and get away from a parent or caregiver.  

So while the mother is tending to the baby in a sling, the toddler is more at risk. While attending to the toddler, the baby is more at risk. Drowning can happen in the blink of an eye. A baby in a sling is not a stuffed toy. Things happen to babies, and their health status can change so fast it's shocking.  (i.e., seizures, choking, spitting up, etc.)

I'm urging informed decision making. Do whatever you want, but know that your choices sometimes have very sad consequences.

Edited by wintermom
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