how long can newborn babies hold their breath underwater



How Long Can a Newborn Baby Hold Its Breath Underwater?

Newborn babies are capable of holding their breath for short intervals underwater. Unfortunately, it is impossible to know exactly how long a newborn baby can hold its breath. It is generally accepted that a newborn baby’s lungs are not fully developed, making it difficult for them to stay submerged for extended periods of time.

Development of the Baby’s Lungs

Most newborn babies have immature lungs which are not yet capable of taking in the necessary amount of oxygen. This means that the baby could lose consciousness in the water faster than a fully developed adult. It is likely that the baby could hold its breath longer in warm, calm water, than in cold, shallow water. The baby’s body temperature increases in the water, providing additional oxygen to the lungs which allows them to stay submerged a bit longer.

The Move Reflex

A newborn baby has a reflex known as the ‘diving reflex’. This reflex allows them to hold their breath and move their limbs while underwater. However, this reflex is very weak and can only be triggered in certain conditions. Its effectiveness wears off quickly, so the baby cannot use it for long periods of time.

Safety Tips

It’s important that parents and guardians constantly supervise newborn babies in and around water, as they can quickly lose consciousness and drown. Some tips to ensure baby’s safety when swimming include:

    • Never leave your baby unattended near water, even for a few seconds


    • Use baby-holder floaties or other floatation devices to prevent your baby from slipping underwater


    • Make sure the water is warm, as cold water can restrict the baby’s breathing


    • Keep the water shallow and calm so that the baby can dip and move without the threat of being submerged


    • Teach your baby proper water safety as they get older, and never leave them alone in water


It is impossible to tell how long a baby can stay submerged underwater. This is why it’s important to take proper precautions and constantly supervise newborns while they’re swimming. With the right safety measures and precautions, a newborn baby should be able to enjoy swimming and other water activities with improved safety.