Just because it is winter, it doesn’t mean your family has to miss out on all the fun and exercise that swimming has to offer. Even though it is too cold out to head to the beach for many people, swimming at your local indoor pool is a great way to get the family having fun together – not to mention get everyone exercising rather than sitting inside away from the cold and wet.
Plus, with alarming statistics revealing that half of seven to 11 year olds are unable to swim 25 metres unaided* – that’s 200,000 children every year denied the chance to learn this essential life skill – Konfidence confirms that its never been more important for parents to get their little ones water confident, and the younger they start the better.
The benefits of baby swimming are manifold. It’s not just that they develop physically, emotionally and mentally when in the pool, babies who swim regularly are confident and relaxed in the water, which gives them the awareness they need to stay as safe as possible. Even at the age of two, they can use skills – such as turning onto their backs – to save themselves from drowning.
Medical research has also proved that children who learn how to swim at a young age can reach many developmental milestones earlier than the norm.
However, you might feel a little nervous about taking your baby to the pool for the first time, but follow these simple tips and you will soon be enjoying the water together.
- Start with splashing about in the bath first. Sing songs, gently splash water on their tummy and head and keep him moving around the water. Introduce a bath toy, like one of Konfidence’s Flashing Floating Blinkies, to make it fun and take this same toy along with you to the swimming pool for familiarisation.
- Choose either a specialist baby swimming class or contact your local pool if you are going-it-alone to check the best times to go. Also check out the pool facilities of your chosen venue – any swimming pool you choose should ideally be heated to over 30°C, be of the right depth and have good clean changing facilities. See Konfidence’s pool finder here.
- Choose the right swimwear for your baby to keep him warm and secure, for example the award winning Konfidence Babywarma. A double layer nappy system is also mandatory at many public swimming pools and swim schools, which means you will need to use a reusable or disposal swim nappy with a neoprene nappy cover – Konfidence’s Neo Nappy is accepted by all major UK baby swimming schools. A chlorine-resistant, non-slip changing mat and poncho towel are also essential.
- Ready to go? Pack your bag the night before with everything you need, including a snack and a drink for afterwards. If your baby is tired or hungry, they are unlikely to enjoy swimming. For breast or bottle-fed bottles babies, they can be fed immediately before or after swimming, but for older babies on solids, a light snack an hour before swimming is advisable.
- If you are going alone, keep swimming times short (15 minutes may be long enough the first time), stay relaxed and focus on your baby at all times. Play gentle games like you did in the bath, blow bubbles, sing songs and gently splash water over her tummy and head.
Most of all have fun, and enjoy the bonding experience!
For further information and advice from Konfidence, Europe’s leading designer of premium protective swimwear for babies, infants and children, visit www.konfidence.co.uk
You can also download a FREE water safety leaflet here.