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If babies are too young to climb out of the water, what is the point?
Infant swimming in the United States is relatively new, but studies conducted in Russia, Germany, Sweden and Australia have taught us many things. Russian studies claim that infant swimming improves the immune system and escalates development. They believe this so strongly that swimming lessons are offered to all newborns by doctors, as part of socialized medicine and at no charge! German studies resulted in substantial health and developmental advantages of swimming babies. In effect, the theory is this: Babies do not move about or actively participate in their environment until they can crawl, at about 6-8 months. When infants are allowed to swim before they crawl, they exercise their physical development and muscle tone, moving toxins out of the body, making them healthier. They also are able to explore, stimulating curiosity and independence, leading to higher confidence and self-esteem. Exploration in the water teaches them their own capabilities and limitations, and they become more alert and aware of their environment. These qualities lead to greater social adjustment as well. Although these studies have not been clinically proven in the United States, there has been definite evidence of them in healthy swim programs across the country.