The first-ever National Baby Swimming Week runs from Monday 31 October, urging mums and dads across the UK to take their little ones to their nearest swimming class for some fun family time, as well as gaining a host of health benefits along the way.
Research*1 has shown why many families are heading to the pool, with some babies as young as one-day old attending classes. They teach babies and toddlers a potentially life-saving skill, help with bonding, build physical strength, as well as their mental and social development. Plus, it’s great fun judging by the magical smiles on their faces in this dedicated video!
A recent survey*2 conducted for National Baby Swimming Week by Water Babies, shows that those who start learning swimming from an early age get smitten by the health bug. This is very encouraging news, set against a worrying, worldwide crisis of growing childhood obesity.
It was found that 93% of children under the age of five who attend swimming lessons are physically active for at least 3 hours per day; 91% of their slightly older counterparts, (aged between seven and eight) easily meet the Chief Medical Officer guidelines of sixty minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity per day. This is way and above the UK average, where only around a half of seven to eight year olds achieve this recommendation.
In addition, 92% of seven to eleven year olds surveyed could easily swim twenty-five metres unaided. However, the national picture is more bleak – only 45% of this age group are able to swim the same distance on their own.
Feedback from UK families, committed to getting their babies swimming backs these statistics. Kate Sturdy from Rhosesmor in Wales said: “As a teacher, I’m only too aware of just how many children simply can’t swim. So when I found out I was pregnant, the most important thing I wanted my baby to do was to go straight into the water and start learning. That way Theo will always be safe and confident, and being in water would feel completely natural to him. Theo’s always happy and appears quite fearless in the pool and, unlike some children of his age, he loves his bath time! We practice the prompts learnt in the lessons, so washing him and his hair becomes a fun game.”
Melene Locke from Canterbury was amazed how swimming lessons had helped develop her son’s strength, throughout a very difficult time: “Barney was born missing his right foot, and his fingers were fused together. We wanted him to grow up feeling confident in who he is, not embarrassed or ashamed of looking a little different. Despite Barney having three surgeries this year we got him swimming as soon as possible. The songs from the lessons have been a brilliant distraction during times of surgery when he hasn’t been able to be anywhere near water. He’s kicked his legs, sat on Humpty Dumpty walls and practiced ‘hold on, hold on’, throughout this summer– all great physiotherapy! Swimming lessons have strengthened Barney physically but also me personally on an emotional level, giving me the confidence about who my baby boy really is.”
Go to nationalbabyswimmingweek.co.uk for more case studies from families, all hooked on baby swimming plus the chance to enter a fun competition, submitting a photo of their “Grumpy Baby”.
Those who enter may just win a fabulous week’s holiday with Eurocamp, with runners-up receiving one of five goodie bags from Piccolo, featuring 100% organic Mediterranean-inspired baby food pouches.