Can my baby go swimming before or after vaccinations?

You can take your baby swimming at any age, both before and after they have been vaccinated. It doesn't matter if they haven't yet completed their course of vaccinations.

Some leisure facilities may suggest that babies shouldn't go swimming until they have had all of their jabs. However, this advice probably dates back to when polio was common and people were concerned it could spread in busy places, such as public swimming pools.

There have been no cases of natural polio infection in the UK for over 20 years (the last case was in 1984). About 40 cases of polio have been reported in the UK since then, but these were thought to have been acquired abroad or occurred as a very rare side effect of the attenuated polio vaccine (containing the live virus) that was routinely used up until 2004.

The Department of Health says that you can take your baby swimming from a very young age. There is no need to wait until they have been vaccinated.

Vaccine side effects

Babies sometimes experience side effects after a vaccination. These are generally quite mild and should not prevent you taking your baby swimming. However, babies who are feverish or irritable in the days or weeks after vaccination may not feel up to swimming for a few days, so you may prefer to wait.

Read the answers to more questions about vaccinations.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 05/11/2014

Next review due: 04/11/2016