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Child Safety Advice

Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death in children under the age of five so the earlier you can teach your child to swim, the better.

Taking a very young baby swimming may seem like a daunting prospect but babies have a natural affinity to water as it’s a free environment for them, and babies up to six months of age have a primitive stroke action and a gag reflex that enables them to hold their breath under water.

FACT! Many parents think that you need to wait until after their baby has had their jabs but the current immunisation programme does not affect a baby’s opportunity to go swimming and is not a precursor to them joining a baby swim class.

 Baby Tips

  • Take time to introduce your little one to water, splash around in the bath first to gain confidence. Using toys and songs will encourage them.
  • Invest in a good swim nappy before taking your baby swimming. If you are introducing them to water for the first time on holiday ensure you have a good sun protection suit that covers their skin. Or if its in indoor pool that is cooler invest in a baby wetsuit that will keep them warm.
  • Try limit the time in water to no more than 30 minutes or when you can see baby is getting cold or tired. Ideally a pool should be 32C for baby swimming, if the pool is cooler ensure you have a warm all in one suit to keep baby snug.
  • Try not to feed baby at least one hour before swimming and be prepared for one hungry & tired baby after swimming.

Toddler Tips

  • Always ask your toddler to enter the pool safely, either down the steps with an adult’s supervision or as a safe “swivel” entry. (2 hands at the side & turn their bottom towards you & slowly lower themselves in)
  • Only encourage jumping in if an adult is present & the child is standing & walking confidently. Ask the child to try take a big step into the pool so that they are clearing the side & leaning forward so that they don’t throw their head back. As a rule of thumb jumping in should be in water the depth of one & half height of your child.
  • Ensure your little one keeps their head out of the water, even swim swim aids they can still dip their head. Some little ones also like to “drink” the water. Do not let them.
  • Never allow your little one to run around near poolside, watch out for trip hazards & or slippery floors.

POSTED BY Becci Wilkinson
6 January 2017