What age can I start?
- Babies love water, after all it’s been their natural environment for 9 months of their lives. We encourage parents to introduce babies as soon as possible and when mum feels comfortable.
- Babies need to be 12 months and under to commence our “Ducklings 1”, our beginners level.
- If your baby is over 12 months we will endeavour to find a suitable level class for you and this will depend on a few things which can be discussed when you call us.
- Toddlers can duck and dive with us until they are 3 years of age. Here they will graduate from our lessons and they will then go into mainstream swimming lessons.
Can you “drown proof” a baby?
- 100%…NOT! There is no such thing as “drown proofing”, even for babies & toddlers who are water confident and may even be able to swim. Steer clear from anyone who promises to “drown proof” your child.
- One fundamental point on safety is never, ever, under any circumstances leave baby unattended near water, be it the pool, bath or even shower. A baby can drown in a puddle of water.
Are there any health benefits to baby swimming?
- Swimming is probably the best activity you can do with baby – what else can you start at such a young age and carry on right through life?
- Being dipped, touched, held and moved through the water triggers a whole range of natural reflexes. These important reflexes are stimulated by swimming (and more so by the various activities as part of our carefully planned course) and as the reflex changes then guess what? Yep, swimming helps out again there!
- In very rudimentary terms, swimming is proven to develop balance, coordination, endurance and strengthen lungs (underwater swims), limbs (reaching and kicking), and being a 3 dimensional environment allows babies to execute a whole range of movements not possible on dry land so is great cardio vascular exercise.
- The respiratory system also gets a work out and swimming is actually thought to be of benefit to children with asthma.
- So much exercise often leads to enhanced sleep and eating patterns – an absolute bonus!
I’d heard swimming can boost cognitive skills, is this true?
- Findings by the German Sports University in Cologne show that getting kids in the water from an early age accelerates intellectual and emotional development and regular, consistent lessons proved that those bubs were stronger and more coordinated than their counter parts. They also rated higher in self-esteem and were more comfortable in social situations than their peers.
- There should always be a “fun” aspect to baby swimming and structured lessons embracing play as a tool to help deliver content develop emotional, social and cognitive skills.
- And for carers, it’s known that up to 1 in 10 mums suffer from some degree of Post Natal Depression. Having the opportunity to socialise can help in lessening the grip that PND can have and make it less isolating. It’s a perfect opportunity to make new friends – both parents and babies!
What different types of lessons are available at other swim schools?
- Broadly speaking there are 3 types of swimming lessons. “Splash and Play” is geared towards water confidence and generally seen as a softer introduction to swimming. Often (but not always) repetitive, the activities are usually based on songs and nursery rhymes and in our experience there is less emphasis on submersion.
- Then there is the “Sink or Swim” method, not something that suits everyone and could possibly lead to some irreversible damage to water confidence.
- Lastly there is Duck and Dive with a structured, progressive approach with multiple levels from birth to toddler with skills being built on and developed week to week, term to term, year to year. Prices can vary hugely depending on location, experience of teaching staff, quality of equipment and breadth and depth of the program.
- Do your research, ask questions and make sure the school is the right fit for you and your expectations.
How long is each term and when do terms start?
- Our terms follow school terms so week 1 is always around end Jan, late April, late July and mid October and run for 10 weeks (occasionally 9 if public holidays get in the way)
Are your teachers qualified?
- For sure. All our instructors are Austswim or Swim Australia qualified Teachers of Infant and Preschool Aquatics. Some who teach the older kids also have Learn to Swim qualifications and all have a current CPR certificate of training. Further, our teachers know why certain activities are performed, which reflex actions are being stimulated and which skill the activity is developing.
How warm is the water?
- All our pools are lovely and warm and are usually heated at a minimum of 32 degrees, which is the optimum temperature for baby swimming. There are occasions when the water temperature dips below this and we still may teach in a 28-31 degree window which is perfectly acceptable for bubs over 5.5kgs. We have baby wetsuits pool side that you can use at any time.
- Babies that are under 5.5kgs should swim in no less than 32 degrees and we’d want to chat with you before enrolment if your baby is estimated to be less than 5.5kgs as at date of first lesson.
What do me & baby need to wear?
- It is mandatory that all our babies and toddlers wear two nappies in this combination: a disposable swimming nappy (like Huggies Little Swimmers) which you can purchase from the supermarket or chemist plus a Splashabout Happy Nappy to be worn over the top. These can be bought from us in a variety of sizes prior to your first lesson.
Can I use a normal nappy under the Happy Nappy?
- Nope! It will absorb so much water it will be nearly 4 times the size! Bub will be really uncomfortable carrying all that extra weight plus consider the added pressure of the super soggy nappy being pushed against the skin by the elasticised Happy Nappy.
I’ve forgotten my kit! What do I do?
- Our teachers carry spare disposable swimming nappies that you can purchase from them at a small cost. Spare Splashabout Happy Nappies and wet suits are part of our teachers’ kit so if you ever forget don’t stress feel free to borrow any item!
Just what is this “Happy Nappy”?
- A Happy Nappy is a stylish special nappy of light weight neoprene in either a blue or pink variant. It fits over the disposable swimming nappy and are elasticised around the thigh and waist, the purpose being to ensure any “numbers twos” don’t accidentally escape. It is compulsory for all babies to have this additional layer of protection which prevents any leakage into the pool that can mean a possible pool closure and lots of unhappy clients! If you can see that baby has done a poo during your lesson, you can easily hop out, change and re-join the class.
- Sorry but no other brands are allowed. We contract our pools by guaranteeing to the pool owners our poo diligence and consequently police the nappy system very closely!
What about wet suits?
- Should your baby be the type that gets cold in the water you can purchase a Splashabout wetsuit keep your bub warm. They are of the same wetsuit material as the happy nappys but cover more body area and are available from our online shop.
Do I need Goggles?
- Usually towards the end of your Ducklings 1 term goggles will be required for mummy or daddy to use, so you can see bubby clearly under the water.
- We use Aqua Sphere goggles as we think they are the most comfortable and durable around. Our teachers favour these great goggles too so you know they are used by the pros.
- We recommend that clear lensed goggles are the way to go. Some babies get a little “worried” when they see mummy or daddy wearing them for the first time so at least if your lenses are clear bub can still see your eyes, which should help them feel more relaxed.
What is the pool depth? Does it matter if I can’t swim?
- Not at all! A lot of our mums and dads cannot swim a stroke which is often part of the reason why they have enrolled baby to swim. Our pools are taught in a maximum depth of 1.15m so shallow enough for all. Our instructors are also trained lifeguards, for yours and baby’s safety.
I can’t make a lesson because baby is unwell / There is a date we can’t make because we are (eg) on holiday. Can I get a refund for a lesson?
- You are allowed 2 make up lessons per term. No availability can be guaranteed but we will always try to accommodate. There are no refunds in the event that you miss a lesson (part or whole) or indeed the entire course.
Do you do offer make up lessons for missed classes?
- Yes as above, but we make absolutely no guarantees on availability.
Can I have a trial lesson or taster session?
- We don’t offer trial lessons unfortunately as our classes are generally all full. Our lessons are strictly private and not open to casual visits. If you wish to see lessons in progress, this can usually be arranged by appointment. For more information on our program, please call us.
The Doctor said we shouldn’t go swimming because our baby has (INSERT YOUR BABY’S CONDITION HERE!) – what do you recommend?
- OK, we are not doctors but we will gladly share our opinion based on our industry experience and also feedback from our 1000’s of clients whom we have taught over the years! We generally find that the medical profession will err on the side of caution (due to fear of litigation), but we encourage you to weigh up any advice given with your own research findings and of course your own “mum sense”. Clearly each case is different and if your baby’s is particularly severe then you may need to ask more questions before taking the plunge.
- Grommets – We have had lots of mums who have happily participated in all lesson activities above and below the water. Generally baby should wait a week or two after fitting before taking the plunge and wear some special ear wraps that will help keep their little ears dry in the water.
- Eczema – Mild cases can be helped by applying a barrier cream to the affected area and ensuring a good rinse off as soon as you leave the pool. A baby “all in one suit” can be worn but this does nothing to prevent/protect baby only that they can be slippery with any applied cream so the suit makes it easier to keep hold of them!
- Asthma – Swimming in warm water combined with the humidity of a pool environment has proven to help asthma sufferers.
- These are our “top 3” conditions that we get asked about, please let us know if there is anything else that you would like to discuss. For sickness (foot and mouth, diarrohea, chicken pox etc) and ear infections please refer to the terms and conditions for our sickness policy.
What are your top tips on swimming babies?
- We encourage parents to introduce babies as soon as possible and when mum (or dad) feels comfortable. Some choose to wait until certain immunisation milestones, say at 4 months and 6 months, but these are all immunising against non water borne diseases so there is as much chance of getting them in the pool as in a café or at play group! If you choose to wait or not, it is imperative to start swimming before they are aged 1 as any time after their first birthday it is often harder as they will have developed independence and may push back. So in at number 1 is – take the plunge as soon as possible!
- If your baby was born prematurely, wait until 3 months old unless you have specific medical permission, as their immune system is not sufficiently developed.
- Choose your school carefully. Locality isn’t everything and decide if you are looking for “Aqua Play” or a structured progressive program including submersions and safety drills. A good to question to ask the school is if you will get the same teacher week to week and term to term. You don’t want to be taught by a different teacher every few weeks as this can be very unsettling for baby. Ask lots of questions, after all, this should be the start of a long and happy relationship with the swim school.
- Submerging is nothing to be afraid of if done correctly and will make baby comfortable under the water. However if baby is upset, listen to her and never submerge a crying baby. Learn to read babies reactions and work with them, this will maintain trust and build their confidence.
- Swim with your baby once a week or more if possible. Babies that are introduced early to water, attend regularly (even in winter) and perhaps swim recreationally with carers outside of lessons are pretty much guaranteed to ace it in the pool!
- Wear a special Splashabout Happy Nappy (neoprene nappy) over the disposable swimming nappy. Believe us when we say you don’t want to be the mum or dad whose little one has “pooped” in the pool causing a mass evacuation of bathers and possible subsequent pool closure. The over nappy should be sufficiently tight around the thigh and waist so that anything that shouldn’t be in the water stays in it’s proper place, giving you the chance to hop out, change bub, then jump back in the water.
- If baby doesn’t “get it” from week to week or has an unexplained aversion to swimming lessons for no apparent reason, don’t worry. Keep calm, persevere and above all, carry on. There are so many reasons that this may happen most of which (assuming there has been no obvious reason pool related) can be attributed to other areas of their lives. Examples may be an external transition at home or perhaps separation anxiety.
- Swim in water temperatures that are sufficiently warm enough for teaching babies. This is will give baby a much more comfortable experience rather than being plunged into cold water which inevitably will lead to stress and their not wanting to go swimming. Warm water helps babies “loosen up” and move more freely, assists deeper breathing and activates the cardio vascular system. It’s fine to swim in cooler water (think lap pool or ocean), but if you want to teach your baby, make sure the “classroom” is as conducive as possible to a positive experience – get results!
- If baby is inclined to getting a little cold in the water, there are some great wet suits available that will help them stay nice and cosy.
- You will be surprised just how naturally talented your baby is. Guide and nurture rather than coddle and control.
Can I claim swimming lessons from my Health Fund?
- Free swimming lessons – YAY! Yes, there are some funds out there that offer generous rebates for swimming lessons as part of a “Healthy Lifestyle” plan. We are providers for HCF and BUPA and if your health fund does offer an allowance for swimming, please get in touch with us.
And above all else….
- Don’t wait to give your baby the beautiful gift of a love for the water!