Infant Swimming Reflex

Human babies demonstrate an innate swimming or diving reflex from birth until the age of approximately six months. Babies immersed in water will spontaneously hold their breath, slow their heart rate, and reduce blood circulation to the extremities. During the diving reflex, the infant's heart rate decreases by an average of 20%. The diving response has been shown to have an oxygen-conserving effect, both during movement and at rest, oxygen is saved for the heart and the lungs. The diving response can therefore be regarded as an important defense mechanism for the body.