September 10, 2010

Getting in to and out of the pool safely

Getting safely in to and out of the swimming pool are important safety skills.   At Seriously Fun Swimming Schools we teach The Safe Swivel Entry into the pool and encourage climbing out of the pool from an early age.

Children also learn that they are not to enter the water until instructed to do so.

When getting into the pool from the side with your baby or child it is important that you use The Safe Swivel Entry into the pool to set a good example and protect your back.

The Safe Swivel Entry
Sit on the side of the pool with both palms flat on the poolside, fingers facing forward. Put one hand across your body and turn around to face the opposite direction. Gently slide into pool.

Getting a young baby into the pool
Lay your baby on a towel or baby changing mat by the shallow end of the pool with their feet facing the water. Sit on the pool edge next to baby, using the Safe Swivel Entry turn towards your baby and enter the water so that you are standing in the water facing your baby. Place your hands under babies back and scoop baby up towards you. If you need to use the steps, (ALWAYS walk down steps backwards) lay baby on the pool edge as above by the steps to ensure your baby is in full view as you enter the pool.

Getting older babies into the pool
Sit on the pool edge with your baby by the shallow end. Put one hand on top of your baby’s hand, using The Safe Swivel Entry turn towards your baby and enter the water so that you are standing in the water facing your baby. Encourage and assist older babies to enter the pool using The Safe Swivel Entry.

Getting out of the pool
Encourage older babies to climb out of the pool with assistance and then when strong enough independently. Always move away from the side after getting out of the pool.

Safety Tips

  • Children should only enter the pool when instructed to do so
  • Never jump or slide into the pool with a child in your arms
  • Always climb down ladder steps backwards.
  • Never climb down ladder steps when holding a child
  • After getting out of the pool always move away from the pool side
  • Ensure children do not bump their chins on the side when getting in and climbing out of the pool

August 23, 2010

It`s never too late to start baby swimming lessons

Many swimming schools require babies to be under 12 months to start their programme which can leave many parent's feeling they have left it too late to start swimming lessons.

Seriously Fun Swim Babies for babies aged 4 months to 3 years
Babies can start lessons even if they are over 12 months as Swim Babies 1-2-3 is a unique 3 stage programme that takes babies right from their first lesson through to independent swimming as 3 year old toddlers.

Babies over 12 months begin to loose their natural affinity to water, so a different approach to start learning at this age is required as each baby will need to work at their own pace with confidence practices being the main theme in the early stages.

Introducing your toddler to the swimming pool
If your child has never been to a swimming pool before he will need to adjust to this new environment and other adults and babies.

This is a crucial beginning to your child's swimming journey so go gently and slowly, how well your child adapts will depend upon your babies age, experience and personality.

Swimming progression does not always start in the pool, after all we have to actually get them into the water before we can teach them to swim!

Getting in the swimming pool
Some toddlers will be very keen to get into the water. If your child is not confident and clings on to you, sit down on the side away from the pool to give child time to adjust.

When your child is ready and shows signs of interest in what is going on, slowly walk to the edge of the pool and sit down on the side together with your feet in the water. Watch the teacher and other children having fun, kick your feet together, a watering can is a magical teaching aid at this stage.

When your child is ready to get into the water maintain eye contact and a big smile, if your child is not confident and clings onto you, allow this until he is ready to move on.

Other children, songs and games can be a great distraction. If your child is not happy at any time, go to a quieter side of the pool until he feels ready to return to the group, never feel embarrassed if your child is not co-operating at any point, there is always one child in the group having a bad day! 

Safe behaviour routines
At this age it is very important to introduce safe behaviour routines in, on and around the water. If your child does not want to play with a ball or sing a song it is not important, however it is important that you insist on safe behaviour routines as this crucial to your child's safety.

Toddler lessons are great FUN, they may take a little longer in the early stages of learning to swim but they soon catch up and with practice they will be very confident at performing numerous swimming skills.

August 07, 2010

Overcoming babies resistance to floating on the back

It's perfectly natural for older babies to resist back floating.

Never force your baby to float on their backs, with perseverance and gentle practices they will regain their confidence.

Hold baby under the arms facing away from you and lay baby in a semi reclined position. Walk backwards and keep your shoulders under the water so you can have cheek to cheek contact with your baby.

Give lots of praise and reassurance, sing a song and ‘snake’ your baby in the water as you walk backwards. Give baby a toy to hold to keep them occupied and happy. If you are swimming with a partner, hold a plastic mirror above baby’s head so they can see themselves. A fun activity most babies enjoy is kicking a soft ball – we have spotted quite a few David Beckham’s in our classes!

As your baby gets more confident, allow them to rest their head on your shoulder, this will give them gentle support as they gain yet more confidence.

Always work at your child’s pace. Learning to swim is not a race, it is a FUN journey and every child is unique in their learning process.

Life-saving techniques to keep your child safe around water

Swimming is not only a wonderful way to have FUN and stay healthy but it is also a valuable life saving skill. Teaching your child to swim is the best gift you can give; it is a gift for life.

Teaching babies and children vital life saving swimming skills and safe behaviour routines around water can be a life saver. However no child is 'water safe' or 'drown proof' even with swimming skills. Constant supervision by parents and carers is required, never take your eyes of your child and always be within arms reach.

Learn vital water safety skills to prevent an accident around water and CPR techniques to cope with an emergency should one arise.

To enable children to enjoy all the numerous benefits of swimming keep them safe by providing 3 layers of protection.

1. Prevention
Provide constant supervision & learn water safety skills.

2. Learn to swim
Teach your child life saving skills swimming skills.

3. Learn CPR
Know what to do if an emergency situation should happen.

Knowing what to do can buy valuable seconds and could make the difference between life and death.

Drowning is known as the silent death, it only takes seconds and is totally preventable. In the UK drowning is the third most common cause of accidental death among youngsters under the age of 16. At least 60 children lose their lives ever year leaving families totally devastated.

Around 75 UK citizens drown abroad each year and many of these deaths could be prevented if more people were equipped with basic CPR and water safety skills. Of the deaths recorded there are as many ‘near deaths’ leaving children completely unable to lead a normal life.

» Check out our guides and information on Water Safety.

Teach your baby to float on their back

Most babies under 6 months will be happy to float. With your support and encouragement they will feel comfortable and relaxed in the water environment.

Your baby will feel secure gently floating in your hand which will help to strengthen the bond between you. Floating also helps to develop their ability to swim unaided and is also a valuable survival skill if a baby should accidentally fall into water.

Baby’s first floating experience can be practiced at home in the bath tub and if held lightly they will feel their own buoyancy.

Bath practice
Fill the bath with enough warm water to cover at least half your baby’s body. Have someone to help you get in and out of the bath, a non-slip mat will help you feel more secure and sit away from the hot tap.

Sit in the bath and gently lower baby into the water, rest baby’s back against your chest with baby’s legs in the water. Take a few minutes to relax and enjoy skin to skin contact as you gently trickle water on baby’s tummy.

Support babies head and neck with your hands, stretch out your arms and allow the water to just cover baby’s ears. Sing a relaxing song and maintain eye contact as baby relaxes and enjoys the experience of floating in the water.

Move baby around in the water and gradually reduce the support of your hands, when you feel ready support baby’s head with one hand only.

If your baby does not like the experience of floating cuddle your baby and try again at the next bath time.

Bath Safety
- Never ever leave your most precious possession alone in the bath
- Never for a second and never with an older brother or sister

Are you ready for submersions?

Swim nappy pictured: Splash About Happy Nappy

You know it’s going to happen soon after you start your first course of lessons and you have read or heard that a baby has a natural ability to swim underwater.

You have seen many babies swim happily underwater, your baby is prepared and ready for their first submersion and today is the big day.

You feel excited but a little nervous and apprehensive. However, you tell yourself that baby is ready, that you are ready and know what to do and you have full confidence in your instructor - no problem.

Then the big moment for you both arrives, with confidence you look into your baby’s eyes with the biggest smile ever. Adrenaline kicks in and then you do it! You can’t believe your prize possession is actually under the water and your heart swells with pride at your little one’s achievement.

Submersion tips for parents
1. Only do submersions when your baby is comfortable with water poured on their face and you are confident to carry out a submersion, never be intimidated into doing submersions.

2. Try to stay relaxed, calm and confident as your baby will feel any anxiety you may have.
Get your baby’s attention and ‘cue’ your baby in a smooth, continuous and consistent manner. Once you initiate the submersion, continue with the movement and do not stop in the middle.

3. Give lots of hugs, smiles and praises.

4. In the early stages limit submersions to brief dips building up to a maximum of 6 submersions spaced out over a 30 minute session.

5. Never submerge a crying baby, if your baby is upset, discontinue submersions for that day.

6. Occasionally, your baby may cough from a small amount of water. Stay calm, distract your baby with a toy and in a few moments, they will stop coughing. Overreacting creates an unnecessary fear in your baby.

7. Be patient, provide lots of encouragement, have FUN and cherish every wonderful swimming moment with your baby.

Please Note: Do not allow your baby to swallow excessive amounts of water as this could pose a serious hazard to your baby’ health.