Whether or not your baby should wear swim goggles is a complicated question. There are two schools of thought and, as you might have guessed, one argues for and one argues against.
Let’s take a closer look at each argument and how they might relate to each other.
When Your Baby Should Wear Swim Goggles
There are a few good reasons why your baby should wear goggles. Broadly, these reasons are concerned with your baby’s safety and their first experiences in the water. These can be broken down into two categories.
Building Swimming Confidence
One of the most important things for babies first taking to the water is feeling comfortable while they gain experience. Swim goggles will keep water and harsh pool chemicals—we’ll get to those in a moment—from upsetting your baby. This makes sure that they gain confidence in the water and associate it with a good time and not having their eyes irritated. This leads us on to our next point.
Keeping Your Baby Safe With Swim Goggles
Your baby's eyes are very sensitive. The harsh pool cleaners might not be strong enough to harm children and adults, but babies can be especially sensitive to them. In addition to that, pools contain bacteria that, while harmless to most adults and children, can cause problems while a baby’s immune system is still developing. Swim goggles help prevent both of these things from interfering with your baby’s time at the pool.
When Your Baby Shouldn’t Wear Swim Goggles
It would be a stretch to say that there are people against babies wearing swim goggles, but there are some good arguments why they should go goggle free some times.
As your baby starts to develop and mature, the issues with harsh pool chemicals and the risk of bacterial infection will go down. As these concerns start to fade away, it might be a good idea to wean your baby off of goggles while they are swimming. This way, they will safely get used to the experience of having water contact their face and eyes and be ready for all the splashing around in the pool once their a few years older.
While goggles help build confidence, it’s a good idea to get your child used to swimming without them. As your child gets older, there will be times where they want to swim and swim goggles aren’t handy. Things like camping trips, vacations, outings with friends, and even hazardous situations like an overturned raft are situations where a swim goggle-free experience is helpful.
At the end of the day, the answer isn’t to always wear swim goggles or to totally abstain from wearing them. Younger babies who are new to the water and are still developing their immune system and are susceptible to pool chemicals should have goggles to help them swim. Older babies who have developed both experience in the water and resistance to bacteria should get some experience not wearing them while they are in the water.
All of this said, it never hurts to have a pair of swim goggles on hand for when you want to go swimming.