Summary backgrounder

Water Babies at a glance

Water Babies has an outstanding reputation as the world’s biggest, most professional baby- and toddler-swimming programme, welcoming over 33,500 children globally (and their parents/carers) into warm water at around 560 local pools every week.

Our swimming lessons progressively develop children’s water skills in line with their physical, mental and emotional development phases. Learning to get to the side, hold on or swim from a young age has saved several Water Babies’ lives after they have fallen into water elsewhere.

Water Babies also offers world-class, once-in-a-lifetime high-resolution photography of babies and toddlers swimming underwater, and an online shop featuring delightful, practical swimming accessories.

Key facts

Co-founder Paul Thompson
Date founded 2002
Launched in Ireland 2009
Countries where present UK, Australia, Ireland
Children currently learning 33,500 (globally)
  2,500 in Ireland
Teachers 350 (globally)
  20 (Ireland)
Local pools used 560 (globally)
  40 (Ireland)
Pool temperature 30 degrees C (32 degrees if under 12 weeks)
Class sizes 6-10 children
Age babies start swimming From birth
Babies hold on at the edge by 5 months (usually)
Toddlers swim short distances by 2 years (usually)
Underwater photos taken each year Over 100,000 globally
Each underwater studio kit worth £15,000+
UK awards WO4LO Best Swimming Class (2008)
  BFA Franchisee of the Year 2009 - silver (Tamsin Brewis)
  Tommy’s Best Children’s Activity Provider (2009)
  WO4LO Best National Baby & Toddler Development Activity (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
  Tommy's Community Diamond Award (2012)
  EWIF Woman Franchisee of the Year 2012 (Kate Evans)

Best Mid-Sized Franchisor 2012 Smith Henderson

BFA Franchisor of the Year 2013 - Silver

Irish Awards TV3's Every Job Counts awards 2011 - finalist
  Ulster Bank Business Achievers awards 2011 - finalist
  Families First - Best Activity Provider for Babies & Tots (2012, 2013)

WO4LO - Best National Baby & Pre-Schooler Development Activity 2013

Maternity & Infant Awards - Best Mum & Baby Activity 2013

Amount raised for charity with our Splashathon since 2009: over  €100,000 for Children's University Hospital, Temple Street; Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin; and the National Children's Hospital
Unique points Only baby swim programme with a nationally recognised diploma for teachers
  Only baby swimming school with its own pool consultancy service