Q. Is it safe for us to take our 5-month-old into our backyard pool with us?
A. If he likes it, there's no reason he can't join in the fun. But your hands and eyes should be on him at all times when he's in the water. And when he's near the pool, don't leave him alone, not even for a moment.
If the water feels cool to you, limit his time there so he doesn't get uncomfortable, and take him out immediately if he starts to shiver, look pale, or get cranky. Keep his head above the water so the chlorine doesn't sting his eyes. And put a swim diaper on him instead of a regular one; it'll keep you safe if he poops while in the pool. Always bundle him up in a dry towel as soon as he gets out.
Since you own a pool, be sure to follow these safety suggestions from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
* Surround it with a fence at least four feet high that locks.
* Keep rescue equipment (like a shepherd's hook or a life preserver) and a telephone by the pool.
* Remove all toys and other objects from the pool after use so your child isn't tempted to reach for them.
* Don't rely on flotation devices like wings to keep babies above water -- they're toys, not safety equipment.
* Anyone watching young children around a pool should learn CPR and be able to rescue a child if needed.