The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

YouTube video on “How to Teach Freestyle” PLUS 7 TIPS HERE! »« Super Swim Teachers are not found–they are made!

“Holds” for Infant-toddler Swim Classes

How to Hold Your Baby in the Swimming Pool

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Have you ever wondered if you were holding your baby incorrectly in the swimming pool? Or if some holds are better than others? In this article, you will learn the holds that are the most effective.


  1. Use the hug hold. The hug hold is the foundation of all the holds outlined in this article. Why? Because it is the hold that your baby feels most secure. Use it when getting in and out of the pool, use it while your baby gets acclimated to the water, and use it any time your baby needs a little TLC!
  2. Try the face-to-face hold. The face-to-face hold is one of the most versatile holds a parent or teacher can use. To perform this hold, simply place your hands under the baby’s armpits with your thumbs wrapped around his/her shoulders. Not only is it great for kicking exercises, it also allows the teacher or parent to make sure that the baby’s face is always out of the water, preventing any accidental facial immersions which can be dangerous if they happen repeatedly.
  3. Practice the modified face-to-face hold. This hold is performed like so: Simply place the infant or toddler on your chest while your hands are positioned just below the baby’s knees. The advantage to this hold is that as you walk backwards around the pool, you can manipulate the child’s legs as you cue: “kick, kick, kick.” Now the baby/toddler gets both verbal and kinesthetic feedback which promotes learning skills. It is recommended that you alternate the face-to-face hold with the modified face-to-face hold, so that the infant-toddler learns what you want when you give him/her the cues.
  4. Use the pass hold. The pass hold is another really effective hold but it is also one that must be used with caution when utilizing it for kicking exercises. When you use the pass hold, you are holding the baby to your side, with your left hand under the child’s left armpit and the right hand under the child’s right armpit. While this can be a great position to have the child in to practice his/her kick, it is critical that you keep a constant eye on the child’s mouth in relation to the water. Once again, you do not want a baby to have multiple accidental facial immersions because they could take in water, which can be dangerous, not to mention at the very least, it could create a bad experience and cause the baby to become upset and water-shy. It is really good to use this hold on two year olds who also have a noodle under their chins when performing kicking exercises. In addition, it is an awesome way to spot the baby (using a pass hold) for safety skill entries and drills (as seen video below).


Watch Jim Reiser, Swim Lessons University founder and instructor, in some highlights from his Parent & Me 101 class.

Copy and paste this link into your browser:


  • Consult with your pediatrician before participating in learn to swim programs.
  • Consult with your pediatrician or a swimming professional before using any of the techniques described above.

Things You’ll Need

  • Swim noodle

Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Hold Your Baby in the Swimming Pool. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
November 27, 2009 at 8:13 pm
Leave a Reply or trackback

You must be logged in to post a comment.