Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Q&A: Your questions answered by swimming expert Anne Hawley

A couple of days back I asked you to send in your questions for swimming expert Anne Hawley and I have to say you've done me proud. Today is the day that you'll get the answers to your questions. Where questions have been very similar to each other, I have simply transformed them into one single question. So if you find a paragraph that answers your question but the question doesn't sound exactly like you've sent it, that's the reason:

My partner keeps telling me to take our daughter to a baby swimming class. I only learnt swimming when I started primary school. So why should my baby learn swimming from an early age?
There are many benefits to babies swimming. Any form of exercise is fantastic at any age and swimming is great for the respiratory system, thus helping to promote healthy sleeping and feeding routines. There is also an important bonding factor which many fathers experience especially with a newborn when Mummy is breast feeding, they can sometimes feel left out. And of course to learn the breath holding skill from a baby means they will never remember learning to swim it will just be a second nature to them but a reassuring life saving skill for the parents.

Some pools say babies should have their immunisations before swimming others don't. What should I believe?
The World Health Authority recommends infants receive their first course of injections before visiting a public pool. Breast fed babies however, receive immunisation from the mother but always check with your health visitor or GP before going to a public pool.

What equipment do we need and which swimming nappies are the best to use?
No swimming equipment is necessary to teach your baby to swim and good quality swim nappies are readily available at many stores. I do not at present endorse any particular brand.

My eyes are always burning because of the chlorine. Does my baby/toddler need goggles for protection?
For safety reasons manufacturers do not make swimming goggles for infants under 3 years old. If your child is suffering perhaps try a different pool. There are many chemical free pools now, such as Ozone and Mineral water treatment pools.

How do I find the right class for my baby? Should the instructor have certain certificates?
Instructors should always be qualified and only use experienced swimming teachers who can demonstrate their ability to teach all ages not just babies.

Five Top Tips:
1. Visit classes.
2. Look at the progress of the infants and watch to see if they are happy.
3. Visit your local pool: most local authority pools now run regular and affordable sessions.
4. A qualified lifeguard should be present.
5. The safe supervision ratio is 1 instructor to a maximum of 6 infants larger classes are dangerous.

I'm afraid of water. How do I make sure I don't pass my fear onto my child?
Possibly now is the time to try to overcome your fear of water. Try adult classes or even a simple holistic approach of hypnotherapy sessions to help you feel more comfortable in water. In the meantime a close relative may be able to help?
I can't afford paying for a baby swimming course and would like to teach my child myself. What exercises do you suggest for which age group?
Teaching your baby to swim is now available by either downloading my iTune apps or buying from Amazon my book Swim Baby Swim. If you do choose classes ensure you are getting your monies worth. You shouldn't be attending classes for more than two terms without seeing some amazing results. If that's happening to you talk to your swimming company. Ask why you are not seeing results! 

Our son has almost finished his baby swimming classes. What is next?
If your son is not swimming solo you will need to ask your swimming company what happens next? My babies all swim before their first birthday often achieving swims of over 10m unaided.

1 comment:

  1. Very informative. I've always been a bit so-so about the idea of babies learning to swim but you've made me think about it again.



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