Here are our top 10 reasons why we believe baby-swimming is an exciting, enriching experience for everyone involved. Not only does it teach vital life skills, but it also enhances the way babies and toddlers learn other skills, too.
1. It teaches water safety
Tragically, accidental drowning still results in more than 150 deaths per year in Ireland. Learning to get to the side, hold on, get out and/or swim could save your child’s life one day, so we teach vital safety techniques from birth. Over the years we've been incredibly proud to share the credit for having helped save a significant number of children's lives. Water Babies have fallen into canals, swollen streams, private swimming pools - and survived, thanks to the skills they learnt with us.
2. It’s great for their physical and mental health
Swimming from birth is fantastic for your baby's health & development, and could spark a lifetime’s interest in sport. Each lesson provides a complete physical work-out, strengthening your baby's heart and lungs and in turn aiding development of the brain — including stimulating all 5 senses (taste, smell, touch, sight and sound). And with each lesson burning up to 300 calories, you’ll get a work-out, too!
Alexander from Wigan at 9 days old
3. It promotes bonding
Skin-to-skin contact strengthens the bond between you and your child. For parents with more than one child, this may be your one chance in the week to focus purely on your infant (and will probably be the only time when your mobile phone will be out of earshot!).
4. It boosts confidence
Introducing children to water at a very young age helps prevent a fear of water developing later. Exercises that involve moving independently in water and holding on to the side are wonderful for your baby’s confidence. Many parents also find that handling their baby in water is great for them, too — especially if they’re anxious about water or can’t swim. You’ll be so proud of what your baby can do!
5. It develops their co-ordination
Being in the water helps improve co-ordination and balance. For example, a 2009 study by the Norwegian University of Science & Technology found that babies who swim have better balance and can grasp objects more easily¹.
6. It builds their strength
Buoyancy and water-resistance mean that babies exercise more muscles, more effectively, in water than on land. Finnish research showed that swimming babies crawled later but walked earlier, thanks to their excellent muscle control.
7. It develops their learning skills
Responding to repetitive voice commands can sharpen your baby’s mental skills and increase their levels of understanding. A German study found that swimming babies had advanced motor development, social skills and intelligence².
8. It enhances their wellbeing
Warm water relaxes your baby and swimming stimulates their appetite; for you, the good news is improved sleeping and eating patterns!
9. It provides structure
Weekly swimming classes contribute to structuring your week and your day, providing a regular fun and social activity (and, just possibly, a little sanity…)
10. You’re never too young to start swimming
Even the HSE agrees! You don’t need to wait until your baby has had his or her vaccinations before they go swimming (even underwater). Also read HSE Immunisation guidelines - page 42!
1 H Sigmundsson1 & B. Hopkins, ‘Baby swimming: exploring the effects of early intervention on subsequent motor abilities’ in Child: Care, Health and Development Volume 36, Issue 3, pages 428–430, May 2010.
2 Professor Liselott Diem, German Sports Centre, Cologne, 1974-1976.