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Health: Infant Swimming May Help With Emotional & Cognitive Development

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Infants in swimming class.  Some research says what infants learn in the water can translate to success in other areas later in their childhood.

3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl has the details.

These little ones are a long way from walking.  In fact they can't even crawl.  But that isn't stopping them from taking an afternoon dip.  Kaci Lint couldn't wait to get her 9-week-old son Ollie in the water.

"My first class with my older son I was definitely one of the nervous parents.  But with this one, it was just really exciting we wanted to know how soon we could start him," said Kaci.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has revised its recommendations, which used to say swimming lessons should start only after age four.  Now the group advocates babies getting in a pool with an adult as early as age one, mainly for safety reasons.

But there are many programs for infants, and research shows many benefits of properly introducing infants to the water.  One has to do with their readiness for school.

"They're 15 months ahead in social and emotional development by four years of age.  They're six months ahead in physical development, and 10 months ahead in cognitive development," said Julie Zancanaro, an Occupational Therapist.

"My one that we started is two now and cognitively he's above the board," said Kaci.

While that one study showed physical and cognitive benefits to infants swimming, more research is needed to confirm the link.  And it might be a good idea to check with your pediatrician to make sure it's okay to get in a pool with your baby.  Experts say parents and adults need to always be vigilant with children around water.

There are infant classes available in our area, including at Sweat Fitness in Philadelphia.

For more information, visit the link below:

Sweat Fitness Mommy-Daddy and Me Class Information-

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