Find the answers to some of the most common questions.
At what age can my baby start swimming?
Babies can start swimming from birth. I took my son when he was 3 weeks old. The age at which the child starts is really dependant on the water temperature of the pool and the confidence of the parent. It is recommended that water should be at least 32o C for babies under 3 months old or weighing less than 5.5kilos/12lbs.
Do I have to wait until they have had their immunisations?
Babies should only be introduced to water in line with the current recommendations from the department of health. The current recommendation from the NHS is that “Babies can be taken swimming at any age. It doesn’t matter if they haven’t yet completed their course of immunisations.” For more information, please see the NHS website.
What should my baby wear?
As a minimum babies should wear a specialised waterproof disposable nappy which can be bought from any supermarket or child store. A normal swim suit can then be worn over the top if desired. There are reusable nappies on the market if you wish to purchase one of these but we do not demand that this is worn. If your toddler is fully potty trained then only a normal swim suit is required. We request still wearing a swim nappy whilst potty training as accidents do happen in all the excitement.
A baby wetsuit is advisable for very young/small babies. This will be dependent on which pool you attend and you should check the temperature of your chosen pool with us before purchasing, as it may not be required. We can provide 0-6 month size wetsuits for your first visit. This will enable you to check whether your child needs one before purchasing.
Will my baby be submerged?
Submersion is where the baby is passed under the water and is allowed to move freely. This will only be carried out once the teacher is satisfied that parent and baby are emotionally ready. Swimtots is not about submerging babies but it is about creating an environment in which the child feels confident and safe enough to swim unaided when physically and emotionally ready.
What is the difference between Swimtots lessons and other swim schools?
Swimtots follow the Swimming Teachers Association (STA) programme, which includes submersions. We teach skills for life preservation through building confidence in the water in a fun and enjoyable manner. Many other swim schools and especially council run lessons. Their teaching programmes do not submerge babies and concentrate solely on building water confidence.
My child has a special learning need and/or medical condition, can they attend the lessons?
There is no reason why your child should not be able to attend along as their health care provider/GP has no objections. They will be included in the class along with the other babies/toddlers and depending on their ability will be able achieve the same as all of the children.
Infant aquatics can also be therapeutic, complementing physiotherapy and osteopathy to help babies develop muscles symmetrically on both sides of the body. It can be particularly beneficial for premature babies as it helps to recapture stages of motor development that they may have missed. Babies who have to wear a hip harness also benefit greatly from unrestricted movement in the water. Please inform us of any special requirements at the time of booking.
What should I do about feeding?
This depends on the time of the session you are attending. If you are breast or bottle feeding and the feed is the time of the swim then you should try splitting the feed so that the baby has half the feed at least 1 hour before swimming. The rest of the feed can be given afterwards when baby will be hungry. If your baby/toddler is on solid food, you should try avoiding feeding for at least an hour before swimming. A light snack an hour before should see them through until after the swim.
I can’t swim, can we still come to the lessons?
Of course, you can. The majority of our pools are shallow enough for you to stand in. We also have buoyancy aids, which will be available for you to use. It is important that you feel safe in the water because otherwise, you will become tense and babies can sense this fear. If you really do not want to handle your child in the water, you could always ask a friend or relative to take them instead.
What is your policy on armbands?
At Swimtots we do not demand children don’t wear armbands if they have been used to wearing them. We will work with your child to encourage them to remove the armbands (or any other buoyancy aid) as soon as they are ready. If you have been following the programme with your child from a baby then there will be no need for any buoyancy aids.