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New-Borns: Are they Born to Swim?

December 3, 2020

Babies, although cute, may seem entirely useless. For the most part, this statement might be true, but babies are born with a specific skill set that can be very interesting to read about. For example, did you know that babies have a natural capacity for rhythm? Studies have shown that babies tend to recognize rhythm when they are exposed to it and their expectation is disrupted when the rhythm is disturbed. This is attributed partially to babies being exposed to the rhythm of their mother’s heartbeat.

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Similarly, one such very interesting skill that babies are born with is the aquatic skill. Babies are said to have a natural ability to “swim”. This, however, is not entirely true. Babies are too young to understand the mechanism of “swimming”. They do, however, have a natural ability when exposed to water. This response allows babies to show a natural ability to stay afloat in water, longer than adults.

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Is it true that babies are born with the ability to swim?

No, babies are not born with the ability to “swim”. What appears as an ability to swim is actually the bradycardic response. It triggers the body to slow the heart and channel the blood away from the peripheral muscles to conserve oxygen for the heart and brain when infants are exposed to water. It seems like babies are born with the natural ability to swim because due to the bradycardic response, they can keep themselves afloat on the water for longer than adults can.

Must read: Sleepyheads: Your newborn can sleep up to 18-22 hours a day!

What happens to this ability when babies grow up?

As babies grow up, they get an idea of what can be dangerous and not. So, the bradycardic response fades away with age. It has been seen in children up to one year old, but not more than that. As they grow bigger, the response fades away and so they cannot survive in water without learning how to swim.

To know more: Why is a new born hearing test crucial in a child’s life?

There are also some other inborn skills in babies that are interesting to read about, such as the quantum intuition, and the rapid learning ability in infants. The bradycardic response is quite interesting to read about and witness in children. You can allow your child to splash around in a pool at home, but remember, you must always be hands-on in case of an emergency. Do not depend too much on your little one’s ability to “swim”!

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