Swim safely!

Swim safely!

Baby swimming has so many wonderful benefits, there’s little surprise it’s becoming more and more popular. But with so much choice, how do you know where to make your first splash? Water Babies gives you advice on what to look for in a baby swim school and going solo.

You’ve decided to take your baby swimming, which is wonderful for your baby’s health, development and safety. It helps them grow in strength and coordination, as well as communication skills. It even helps their developing brain make important connections, aids bonding and sleep patterns.

So the big question is… how? You’ve a few choices: go it alone, join special baby-friendly sessions at your local pool, or find a specialist baby and toddler swim school. If you choose to go yourself, or with friends, there is a lot of helpful information out there, though not all of it is accurate. Baby Centre (http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a539332/swimming-with-your-baby) has some sensible advice on taking your baby swimming in a public pool, water temperatures and what kit you’ll need.

Ask the experts
Swimming with a specialist baby swim schools has a few distinct advantages such as warm, private pools and expertly trained teachers. But not all baby swim schools are the same. The way the classes are structured and taught varies, as well as the research and training that goes on behind the scenes.

Ultimately, the main thing you need to consider is yours and your baby’s safety. Swimming is one activity where if it’s taught badly, it can be dangerous. To give parents more of a clue about baby swim schools, Water Babies has been involved in producing the first ever national guidelines for the safety of babies and toddlers during swimming lessons.

New guidelines
Working with swim nappy company Splash About, and the national governing body for swimming, the ASA, these guidelines were published by the British Standards Institution (BSI) in October to help keep children under 3 years old safe in swimming pools. It provides a standard for all British baby swim schools to adhere to, and for parents to rely on. 

As well as setting standards for safety, the guidelines also look after babies’ wellbeing during swimming lessons, appropriate swimwear, good standards in underwater photography, a focus on pool operation, including temperature and hygiene, and best-practice teaching methods.

“We’re really excited to have been involved in writing these guidelines,” said Bryony Johnstone, who has been running Water Babies in Bristol, Bath and North Somerset for 13 years. “There’s been such an upsurge in baby swimming, which is wonderful because it has so many benefits for little ones as well as being a crucially important life skill. But it’s vital that baby swimming is taught properly. With these new standards, parents can be reassured that the swim school they choose is going to look after them well.”

Water Babies classes take place all across Weston-Super-Mare, Bristol and Bath in private pools. The course has been carefully written to gently progress your baby from first splash to being able to swim at around the age of four years. To find out more about Water Babies classes or the new standards, call 0117 946 6919 or visit www.waterbabies.co.uk