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For Underwater Babies, Venice, California-based photographer Seth Casteel captures infants as they make their first enthusiastic attempt at swimming, submerged and blissful beneath the surface of clear blue pools.

Casteel, who first skyrocketed to international stardom with his books Underwater Dogs and Underwater Puppies, has always been an advocate for the voiceless—he started the non-profit One Picture Saves to help shelter animals find their forever homes—and these riotous baby snaps are no different. While researching pet safety, the photographer happened upon some startling statistics about accidental infant drownings, and Underwater Babies began as a way of raising awareness about water safety. Drowning, reports Casteel, is the leading cause of accidental death in children below five years of age, but that number can be reduced by a whopping eighty-eight percent with swim school for infants.

For the shoots, the photographer gained access to eighteen separate baby-swim facilities, capturing kids aged eighteen weeks to seventeen months as they explored the deep—delightedly—for the very first time. Here, they learned to hold their breath and peel their eyes while being submerged for a period of one or two seconds. The joy of a child (or a doggie) experiencing the water for the first time is contagious, and these little ones certainly deserve to experience it in a safe, secure environment.

Purchase Underwater Babies here.

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All images © Seth Casteel

via Huffington Post

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