Your Guide To Baby Swimwear
Your Guide to Baby Swimwear
Taking your baby swimming for the first time is certainly one of those milestone moments. There's nothing more adorable than watching a baby enjoying the water and making those first splashes; for most babies, it is a very natural environment to enter into. However, you'll have more than just the pool timetable to consider, especially if your baby is still very young... What does your baby need to wear? If this is your first time taking a baby swimming, the baby swimwear options may seem a little confusing and overwhelming but we are here to clearly explain what you will need at each stage and why it is important to get it right.
Before setting off to purchase any baby swimwear it is important to note that a newborn baby will not be able to stay in the pool for a long period of time due to their lack of ability to regulate their own body temperature. They also cannot keep themselves warm with movement as older children can in a pool which means that they will find the water colder far sooner, making baby swimwear an essential item.
Prior to arriving for your swim, it is also advisable to check the temperature of the pool with the establishment themselves. They may inform you of particular times when the water may be warmed to a more suitable temperature for newborns; 30° C and above is the recommendation for this age. If you are starting dedicated swimming lessons you should find that the pool will be the correct temperature.
To help your little one to retain their body heat we recommend that all young babies wear a baby wetsuit of some variety. There is a huge range of options on the market but for optimum warmth as well as comfort in the pool, your best option is a Warm In One swimming costume. Made with a super soft fleece-lined material, the Warm In One has full sleeves and legs to give the entire body protection from the cold whilst in the water as well as for that chilly transition from the pool to the changing room. It will allow your baby to fully enjoy their time in the pool without causing them to feel a chill and will hopefully help to extend your swimming time.
Another option is the Happy Nappy Wetsuit is not only made from neoprene but it is also the only wetsuit that has an integrated Happy Nappy built in! With thick, soft ribs that create a seal around your baby’s thighs and tummy, this swimwear item will prevent any faeces from escaping, giving you the peace of mind that you won't experience any little accidents. These wetsuits fully cover the arms but do not cover the legs so the temperature of the pool you are visiting will need to be on the warmer side to avoid their little legs from becoming too chilly.
The Baby Wrap is a velcro bodysuit which wraps around the trunk of the body but has no arm or leg coverage. Again, made from Neoprene, these wraps are very easy to get on and off and do not restrict movement.
Your newborn baby will also need to wear a swim nappy to prevent any accidents in the pool. The Happy Nappy is a reusable swim nappy with snug-fitting waist and legs ribs to prevent any leaks. The Happy Nappy can be worn alone, with a disposable swim nappy underneath or with Splash About's double nappy environmentally friendly alternative the Nappy Wrap and Liners. For further details on the importance of swim nappies and the different types available, you can read our article here.
The difference in movement from 0-3 months to this stage will be very clear to see. Your baby will now be learning how their arms and legs move, they will be starting to smile, laugh, wriggle and giggle, as well as learning how to coordinate themselves. Their muscle tone will also be far greater and you will be able to feel this as you hold their abdomen in the pool. This extra movement really helps to extend your pool time as they will now have the ability to keep themselves warmer through kicking, splashing and exploring the water.
At this age, you will still need to stick with your double nappy system and they will still require swimwear which will help to maintain their body temperature.
If you are starting swimming lessons with them, there may be times when your baby is lifted up out of the pool, sat on the side or is held by you slightly out of the water. The best choices of swimwear at this stage is either the Happy Nappy Wetsuit or the Baby Wrap. Both are easy to get on and off a more active baby and both will move with your little one as they glide through the water. Even though neither have legs, your baby won't notice the cold as much due to their ability to kick. They will also enjoy feeling the water and learning how to move forward through it.
We are covering a 6 month period here as your baby's needs will remain very similar during this time. By this stage, your baby will be far more active and aware of their own motor skills and coordination. This extra movement will, of course, keep your baby far warmer than before and what swimwear you opt for will highly depend on how long you swim for, how much they move and how warm the water temperature is at the pool.
As dedicated swimming lessons take into consideration your baby's needs, you may find that your double nappy system along with a swimming costume or trunks is all you will now require. However, don't forget that public swimming pools will not be warmed accordingly so if you are also using these they will most probably still require a warm swimsuit. As we have mentioned above, the Happy Nappy Wetsuit and Baby Wrap are both great choices and they are available in a range of sizes of up to the ages of around 2-3 years.
From this age, you will most probably want to start to think about buoyancy aids. These may not be required for swimming lessons but buoyancy aids are ideal for use in a public pools, especially if you are supervising more than one child, or on holiday. Most people may immediately think of armbands, but swimwear has come on in recent years and flotation devices are now being built into certain items, making water safety far simpler.
A Float Suit is an all in one swimwear suit which is suitable from the age of 1 up until 6 years. The suit contains buoyancy aids which are arranged around the abdomen in a way that will help to keep your child in a correct natural swimming position. These are made from a soft material but will not provide warmth the way in which neoprene will. However, they are easy to get on and off and are also very comfortable.
A Float Vest is a neoprene zip-up vest which is suitable for children aged from 1 up until adulthood. This will provide extra warmth as well as the buoyancy required. Just like the float suit, a float vest will help to keep your little one in the required swimming position. Both of these options will also provide your child with UPF50+ Sun Protection.
Armbands used to be the most common buoyancy aid and though they are still available to purchase they have more cons than pros. The hassle of blowing them up, the risk of air leaks and the fact that they only hold your child in an upright position are just a few of them. Of course, they are easy to pack when deflated, are very cheap to buy and some pools even offer them by the water for free use.
At this age, you will still need to ensure you are following our recommended double nappy system which must be adhered to until your child is confidently potty trained and in certain organised swimming lessons up to 4 Years old . In terms of baby swimwear, you may feel that this is the time to move onto more grownup looking swimwear outfits such as aqua shorts, board shorts, rash tops, swimming costumes, sunsuits or swim dresses. These items are more about what your child will feel good in, what they will be able to move well in and what style you'd like them to have. Here at Splash About we have a wide range of choices which can be seen here.
And finally, all babies will need a swim towel for when their swimming session has ended and a perfect choice would be our hooded towel. Babies and young children feel the cold far more than we do when they come out of the water, which is why a snuggly towel with a hood, which will help to sustain their body warmth is a great option.
We hope this article has given you plenty of ideas on which baby swimwear would be the most suitable for your little one and we wish you the best of luck on your swimming journey.
Create a Splash this Christmas - Splash About Christmas Gift Guide
We’re fast approaching the most wonderful time of the year. Whilst for many of us, this time is filled with excitement and joy, for some of us the stress of Christmas shopping takes over! What to get the man who wants nothing, the lady who has everything and the children who can’t move in their bedrooms for toys?!
Here at Splash About, we may be able to help; with the babies and children in your life at least!
Whilst swimwear and swimming accessories may not be the top of your list of gift ideas, they should be! We believe swimming is one of the most important life skills and we have developed many different products to help babies develop their passion for the water early.
The Warm In One wetsuit is the perfect gift for babies. Fleece-lined, this full wetsuit will keep babies cosy and warm in and out of the water. It has been proven to extend pool time and has even kept babies warm enough they have fallen asleep in the pool!
Pair with a matching Happy Nappy and you have the perfect gift for the baby who has enough toys to see them through the next 10 years! (and their parents will thank you. The Happy Nappy will save them a fortune in disposable swim nappies and they will never have the embarrassment of the pool having to close because their baby has had an accident!)
Struggling for siblings? The hooded towel range may just be the answer! Hooded towels in our popular Nina and Noah’s Ark ranges are suitable for newborn babies to 2 years and match perfectly with the hooded ponchos in the same designs for older children up to 6 years. A perfect gift that will definitely provide the ‘ahh factor’. The best part is these can be used at home for bathing as well as at the pool. 100% cotton. 100% gorgeous!
If you would prefer to gift a toy, we can still help! We have a range of teething toys that can be used in the bath or the pool and are totally safe for babies to chew. Made from all-natural rubber, painted with food grade paint and free from chemicals, our Splash Jacks and Splash Pals are the perfect gift. Fully sealed they will not fill with water and mould and babies love the sensory design and bright colours.
All of these products can be bought together in Bundles to make gift buying even easier. We’ve done the hard work selecting matching and complementary items and knocked 10% off. All you have to do is choose your favourite design!
If this has really inspired you to get swimming, use our Find A Swim School tool to help find your nearest swim classes and get set for the New Year! New Years resolution sorted too!!
Merry Christmas from all at Splash About!!
Why are Swim Nappies Important?
One of the most important things to think about before you start swimming with your baby/toddler is swim nappies.
There is a huge variety available on the market and, at first, it can be a little confusing trying to decide what is the best option to go for, understanding what will be the most reliable and which will be the most cost-effective, which is precisely why we are going to explain all of the ins and outs of swim nappies to help you to get to grips with them.
Understanding Swim Nappies
Why do we need swim nappies?
Swim nappies have one main purpose: to prevent faecal matter from entering a pool. Many people do not initially realise that swim nappies do not actually hold urine but this is one thing that they are not designed for.
The reason that they cannot be absorbent is because they would also soak up the water from the pool, therefore, making the nappy heavy, altering its shape and becoming a potential water safety issue as it will prevent your baby from moving effectively and may drag them down.
Have you ever accidentally got a regular nappy wet? If so, you will be very aware of all of these problems.
Not only is it very important to have a swim nappy for every visit but it is also important to have one that fits correctly because if a swim nappy does leak faecal matter, the pool will have to be immediately evacuated and shut down for cleaning– which will take on average 4 hours to fully disinfect. A swim nappy helps to keep the pool a clean and safe environment for everybody.
What options are there?
The swim nappy options have grown in the last few years but to put it very simply you have 3 options:
- Disposable (usually required with a Neoprene Swim Nappy over the top)
- Reusable with neoprene over the top
- Reusable fitted neoprene Such as the Splash About Happy Nappy
The Disposable Swim Nappy
A disposable swim nappy can only be used once just as a regular disposable nappy can. Some swimming pools may allow this to be worn on its own but you will need to speak to your local establishment prior to arriving in order to discover their swim nappy policies as many now prefer a double nappy system to be on the safe side.
Most organised swimming lessons will insist on a neoprene being worn over the top as disposables are quite flimsy and can be prone to leaks.
The Reusable Swim Nappy
A reusable nappy can be used time and time again. It works in exactly the same way as a disposable but can be washed and reused. There is also a wider variety of styles and fits available to you in shops and online. Some reusable nappies look like swimming trunks and will need a neoprene over the top to ensure that any leaks are safely contained.
The reusable neoprene swim nappy like our Splash About Happy Nappy can be worn on its own. Due to its snug fit and design, it will not leak:
"Ergonomically designed to move with the baby as they kick and move about in the water, the Happy Nappy is shaped to cup baby’s bottom, whilst specialist waist and thigh ribs fit snugly to the child’s body, forming a seal that prevents any solids leaking out"
The Happy Nappy is trusted by parents worldwide and is relied upon by swim schools across 30 countries to keep their pools free from the germs that come from a swim nappy leakage. It’s patented technology gives reliable leak protection without the need for any other under nappy to be worn. The 1mm neoprene is supple and moves with the child to prevent any gaping.
What to Choose
Just like your nappy choice, your swim nappy decision will usually come down to personal taste but to help to shed a little more light on the matter, here are some facts about disposables and reusables.
Disposables are cheap to buy but in the long term, you will end up spending more on these than on a reusable swim nappy. They are readily available in all supermarkets which makes them easy to find, they come in different sizes and are usually a good fit for most children.
Reusables will cost you a little bit more to purchase upfront but once you have one it is going to last. Not only is this kind to your wallet, it is also good for the environment.
Reusable swim nappies cause about 1.5-2.5 less CO2 production during manufacturing, use and waste processing compared to disposable swim nappies and this includes the washing of them too.
Reusable swim nappies are available in a variety of sizes from birth to toddler and even beyond, but you will need to check each brand for their own measurement and weight charts prior to buying. You can also purchase a nappy wrap or liners to help with any accidents and to make the cleaning up process easier.
Another important point to consider is taking your swim nappies on holiday. If you are going abroad for 2 weeks, you will need to take swim nappies with you.
By taking disposables you will require the space for approximately 20 nappies which can be a real inconvenience, especially with weight regulations added in. Compare that to 1 reusable swim nappy and you can start to see that this option has far more benefits for your lifestyle.
The key thing about reusables is that a style like the Happy Nappy will not leak, it will move with your child and be far more comfortable due to the materials it is made from.
Washing a Reusable
A reusable swim nappy, like the Happy Nappy, isn't difficult to look after. Neoprene nappies cannot be machine washed or tumble dried, We recommend a hand wash in warm water without conditioner. Roll in a towel and then leave to dry flat and away from direct sunlight.
Understanding how to fit a reusable neoprene nappy is very important. A correctly fitting nappy may feel like a bit of a struggle to get on the very first time but this is actually quite essential.
The Lycra band must sit tight against the skin on both of your baby's legs and their waist with no gaping, in order for it to work effectively.
You should be able to comfortably fit a finger against your baby’s thigh in the leg opening, but no more.
A tip to help you out with fitting the reusable neoprene and to prevent your baby from being hurt is to pull the nappy right up to the top of your baby’s legs before you attempt to pull it up over the under-nappy and then up to the waist.
The waistband should then sit quite high on the tummy and be over the belly button. If you find that the nappy keeps slipping down then either it is too big or the Lycra fibres in the waistband have deteriorated.
To test this, gently pull the waistband and let it go. It should immediately pingback to the body and stay quite tight against your baby's skin. If there is any looseness or does not retain its position on the body then it is time to purchase a new nappy.
When Should a Child Stop Wearing a Swim Nappy?
Most swim school require your child to wear a swim nappy until 3 Years old even if your child is fully potty trained as they actually see more accidents from children who are toilet trained.
A reusable swim nappy is made from similar material to a swimming costume so it does not inhibit them in any way whilst doing the activity so there isn't any urgent rush to stop wearing swim nappies immediately.
Important Points to Remember
It is very important to remember these key points when it comes to swimming:
- Do not go swimming if your child has or has had diarrhoea recently. Pools will have their own sickness policies on this and some will state a period of 2 weeks before swimming again. Swim nappies cannot effectively hold stools this loose.
- Take spare swim nappies with you in case of an accident.
- The double nappy system is recommend by most UK swim schools.
- Choose a nappy that fits snugly to the body. Do not buy a reusable nappy for them to grow into, it will not do the job required of it.
- Check your reusable before each swim for any wear and tear.
- Encourage your child to take regular toilet breaks (age depending).
- Check your baby's swim nappy regularly during your swim and change if you are aware of a poo.
However, probably one of the most important things to remember and understand about swim nappies is that it is your responsibility to be prepared prior to entering a pool.
We highly recommend trying swim nappies on before your first swim session, making sure that the fit is correct, that your child is happy and that you can easily put it on.
Understanding swim nappies is far easier once you break it all down and are made aware of all of the choices out there.
National Baby Swimming Week & The Benefits of Baby Swimming
National Baby Swimming Week & The Benefits of Baby Swimming
Now in its third year, National Baby Swimming Week is a time to discover and celebrate all the joys of baby swimming for both babies and parents.
Created by Water Babies back in 2016, National Baby Swimming Week runs from the 13th - 19th October this year.
It is the perfect time to raise awareness of the importance of water safety and water confidence, as well as the documented benefits of swimming with your baby.
The Benefits of Swimming With Your Baby
By Emma Reed.
A weekly swimming lesson will start to build your baby's water confidence from an early age.
The routine will soon become very familiar to your baby, the fun of the lessons will aid in building up water confidence and it will become an activity that they will learn to love week after week.
Once your baby becomes more confident in their swimming lessons, they will learn exactly what they need to do in order to remain safe in the event of a water-related accident. In baby swim classes your little one will be taught how to safely blow the water away, rather than inhale it.
They will be shown how to hold onto the side of the pool in order to keep their heads above water and they will be encouraged to swim under the water and then safely return to the surface all by themselves. Babies as young as 4 months old can often prove that they can do this very quickly and with ease.
Builds Muscle, Strength and Improves Health
Compared with non-swimmers, baby swimmers generally show that they have stronger heart and lung functions and will often walk earlier. Recent research by the German Sports College, Cologne have studies that show babies who swim are significantly stronger and more coordinated.
As your baby’s body is predominantly supported by the water and, of course by you, they can focus their attention on working on their balance.
The actions babies use whilst swimming incorporates the whole body and they will begin to fully acknowledge how everything feels, moves and works.
A Norweigan study which was carried out in 2010 has shown that swimmers have a far better balance over babies who do not swim, hence why they also tend to walk at a younger age.
The findings from an extensive 4-year study in 2009 by The Griffith University in Australia have remarkably shown that children, under the age of 5, involved in learning to swim were not only more advanced in both their cognitive and physical development than non-swimming children but that they were also far better at math solving problems.
One of the best parts about going swimming with your baby is the fact that you get to further work on that all-important bond.
Your baby has to fully trust your every move, they have to focus on you through the duration of the lesson, making plenty of eye contact and positive gestures, not to mention all of that wonderful skin to skin contact you get to enjoy.
As we all know, exercise releases endorphins, the happy hormones, around our body and it works in the same way for babies too.
Your baby will feel so much happier during and after their lesson.
Sleep Like a Baby
Exercise promotes sleep and everybody wants a baby that sleeps well! You will most probably find that naptime after your weekly swimming lesson will be the easiest one to put your baby down for and maybe even the longest as well as the most peaceful.
A Better Appetite
Exercise will always improve your baby’s appetite and swimming is a perfect way to keep them active but in a gentle way.
Don't be surprised if your baby requires a snack or extra milk after their lesson!
Having a routine in your week will benefit both you as a parent as well as your baby.
If you join a weekly baby swimming class, it will become a regular sociable activity for the both of you, it may spark up new friendships and prevent that loneliness a lot of parents can experience at some time or another.
Swimming is such a fantastic all-round activity for you and your baby and as you can see, it provides plenty of benefits for their physical, emotional and cognitive development as well as being great fun.
For more Splash About baby swimming guides click here, or choose from the list below:
Winter swimming lessons: why are they important?
When the temperature drops through the winter months, it can be tempting for parents to stop taking their infants swimming until the hot weather returns.
A recent survey by children and baby swimwear specialists Splash About found that over a quarter (28%) of parents take their toddlers swimming only in summer. However, continuing regular lessons throughout the year—regardless of how gloomy the conditions are outside—is crucial to avoid babies wasting any progress they had previously made in the pool.
What are the benefits?
The Splash About survey also discovered that one in ten (10%) parents take their babies swimming most of the year but avoid the pool in winter.
When toddlers are in the process of learning how to swim and have a break over winter, returning to the pool can not only be an unnerving experience, but can damage their confidence and possibly give them a fear of water. From as young as eight months old, children can quickly develop a hatred for being in the water and become afraid of swimming, even if they had formerly enjoyed it. This is often referred to as the ‘water wobbles’.
Bernadette Spofforth, Managing Director of Splash About, said: “Until swimming becomes second nature to the child, it’s vital they continue practising so they can develop their skills.
“A break is likely to disrupt their routine, slow down the process and lead to them forgetting everything they had previously learnt. This can be extremely frustrating for the child.”
Splash About’s study also revealed that 13% of parents take their toddler swimming on sunny or warm days only. In summer, it’s easy for infants to remain active as they are constantly running around outside in the hot weather. In winter, however, swimming is a great form of exercise, keeping their energy at a consistent level without them having to go outside and face the dull weather. Swimming lessons will also be unaffected by any changes in the weather, unlike outdoor sports.
Noël Janis-Norton, parenting author, coach and director of Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting, said:
“When young children are still learning how to swim, or when they have just recently learned, if they have a break of more than a few weeks (at any time of year) they are liable to forget some, or even most, of what they have learned. That’s because the complex skills involved in swimming are not yet stored in their long-term memory.
“The younger the child, the easier it is for their brain to forget what they have learned, so it’s best to continue taking a young child swimming throughout the year.”
Some parents may avoid winter swimming lessons, thinking wet hair in the cold weather will cause their babies to catch colds. This is a myth. Swimming throughout the year will actually help infants build a stronger immune system so they can fight off nasty bugs. However, drying the toddler’s hair before they go outside is recommended—that way, they don’t feel uncomfortably cold and associate that negative feeling with swimming.
Noel said: “If the infant is at all anxious about any aspect of swimming, the more frequently they are taken swimming, the sooner the fears will fade.”
How can parents encourage toddlers to swim in winter?
Although the pool’s temperature doesn’t change throughout the year, the air around it can sometimes feel much cooler and this will make the baby will feel considerably colder than they would in summer. Wearing swimwear that is designed to keep the child warm can improve their swimming experience and make the initial transition from the changing rooms to the pool much easier.
Bernadette said: “Wetsuits with fleece lining will cover the majority of the toddler’s body, and keep them warm while getting in the pool. This can help them enjoy water for a longer period of time. A swim hat can also be an added benefit.
“Before they change into regular clothing, hooded ponchos are perfect for keeping them warm after getting out of the pool and into the changing rooms.
“Changing mats can be used to stop their feet getting cold and to protect them from the wet and slippery changing room floors. This takes away a lot of the stress that is often associated with getting young children dressed and out of the swimming facilities.”
The most daunting part of swimming in winter can be getting into the pool due to the colder air temperature. Most baby-friendly pools are usually warm, and it’s often beneficial to use these to warm up in before switching to the larger, deeper and generally colder pool.
Swimming is a life skill which can be vital in emergencies. Consistently taking part in lessons prepares children for accidents in the future and enables them to become comfortable and confident in the water.
“What times of the year do you take your baby/toddler swimming?”
Only in summer
Only in winter
Only on sunny/warm days
Only on rainy/cold days
All year round
Most of the year but I avoid winter time
How to get young children past a fear of swimming
Even though swimming can be a joyous experience, it’s very common for infants to develop aquaphobia (fear of water) early on in life. A survey conducted by children and baby swimwear specialists Splash About revealed that only 16% of adults said their toddlers felt very confident in water.
From the age of eight months old, children can suddenly develop a hatred for swimming and a fear of being in the water, even if they had previously enjoyed the activity. This is widely known as the ‘water wobbles’ and is likely to occur when the infant has already had some lessons. Although this usually fades over time, aquaphobia can often prevent people from learning how to swim if it isn’t addressed. However, following some recommended steps can help lessen your child’s fear of water.
Bring in the experts
There are a variety of different approaches to carefully handle an infant’s aquaphobia. To find out how parents can best help their child overcome this fear, we decided to seek advice from the experts:
Bernadette Spofforth—Managing Director of Splash About
Noël Janis-Norton—Parenting author, coach and director of Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting
Sally Baker—Author, speaker and therapist at Working on the Body
What is triggering the phobia?
Possible causes of aquaphobia among children:
- Fear of separation from their parents
- A parent unintentionally passing on their own aquaphobia
- Feeling overwhelmed by the noise, smell of chlorine and general activity in a swimming pool
- A dislike of getting wet, or a fear of water going in their eyes or nose
- Remembering a negative experience they have had in water previously
- Having witnessed something upsetting while in water, or seen a distressing water-related scene on television
Bernadette: “If it isn’t already known, parents might find it useful to discover the cause of their child’s fear so they can better understand it.
“Knowing the trigger isn’t enough to diminish the phobia but it can help parents know what direction to go in to prevent the fear from being a lifelong issue.”
Noël: “An important thing to recognise is that children who become phobic of water or swimming are likely to have a relatively sensitive, intense, inflexible temperament to begin with.
“Most children don’t want to be scared but it’s out of their conscious control. Once it has become a phobia it’s irrational and it tends to persist, despite encouragement and well-meant lectures.
“I’ve known children who used to scream in terror at the sight of water who are now confident swimmers. A phobia need not be a life sentence but it does require careful handling.”
How can parents help?
Splash About’s study also showed that 10.2% of parents and carers said their infants were scared of all water and 11.2% were afraid of swimming pools. Once the cause of the phobia is established, parents should consider ways to help their children become more confident and relaxed in the water.
Sally: “You are teaching and letting them experience something wonderful and potentially lifesaving. There’s no rush.
“It’s important to take any pressure off and make all swimming pool visit as enjoyable as possible without cajoling the child to endure anything they’re not ready to do.”
Noël: “I recommend parents use systematic desensitisation, which is a method for gradually getting someone used to something that they want to avoid.
“The parents and the child together map out a lot of little steps between where the child is now, with the phobia, and where you want them to end up, which is with no fear whatsoever. At first, the steps will probably be very small.
“One benefit of doing this process really gradually is that the child is likely to become increasingly brave, confident and proud of himself. He becomes excited about completing the steps, possibly even keen to skip over a few of the steps and tackle something a bit harder.
“If parents try to rush it by making the steps too large, then the child will probably rebel and it will end up taking a lot longer to overcome the fear.”
Support and understand
Before gradually introducing the child to swimming pools, it can be beneficial to get them used to water in general with baths or paddling pools, so that they no longer associate water with fear.
Bernadette: “Acknowledge and accept their fear and don’t push them into doing something they aren’t ready for. It’s important that they trust you in the water so don’t trick them. Let them strike an interest in swimming on their own and move at their own pace.
“Refrain from showing any judgement or overreacting as this can cause stress and fuel the phobia. Instead, validate how they are feeling and remain calm.”
Consider the surroundings
Some children might find the idea of swimming scarier than the actual experience and it’s recommended that, as parent, you address your child’s fear before entering the water.
The child should feel relaxed and positive when swimming and not anxious or frightened, otherwise the fear will continue to grow. To get them used to the environment before swimming, sit near the pool with them and observe the surroundings.
Once your child is comfortable, encourage them to play with some water toys while sitting on the side-lines and, if they are ready to, paddle in the water. Splash About found in its research that 27% of toddlers were initially cautious about the water but fine once they got into the pool.
Sally: “All of a swimming pools noises, crowdedness and even water and ambient temperature will impact on the level of nervousness a child will experience.
“A swimming pool’s environment can seem very strange and alien to a young child and all of their reactions are completely normal and understandable as they acclimatise to this new experience.”
Choose a suitable class
If the infant takes part in group classes, consider whether the fear is linked to social anxiety and if one-to-one lessons with a teacher could reduce some pressure.
It’s also important to check that the teacher’s methods are right for your child, to ensure they will have a positive experience. While your child is still getting used to the idea of swimming, keep the lessons between 20 and 30 minutes.
Bernadette: “When they are ready to begin swimming, a smaller pool with fewer people could be more suitable for children who are likely to be intimidated by a busy space.”
If you’re afraid or uncomfortable in a pool, try not to show this when near your child because they might mimic your actions. By appearing calm and happy in the water, you encourage your child to relax.
It could also be motivating to set realistic goals for your child each lesson, and to acknowledge their bravery by rewarding them with a treat if they achieve their aims.
Noël: “Most children are motivated to overcome their fears by the promise of rewards but some aren’t. If your child is, then by all means give them an incentive.
“But the reward must be achievable without too much effort or courage. Make sure you’re not hoping for too much too soon.”
Floats and swimwear
Using float jackets, float suits or Fings (floats that fit around the child’s chest or under their arms) to begin with can help the child feel safe and at ease. However, don’t use them too long in case your child becomes dependent on the devices to feel secure in the water.
Bernadette: “Choosing colourful and bright swimwear that the child will be excited to wear can encourage them to enjoy swimming. Comfortable swimsuits can also make them feel calm and at ease.”
Sally: “Allowing them to choose the colour of their costume or the colour of their goggles or floats increases the control a child can feel in this new situation. It empowers them and reinforces their sense of influence and control, which can help them feel less overwhelmed.
“Comfortable swimwear and a swimming costumes with integral floats or inflatable arm bands all help a child feel more confident in the water.”
Have you experienced a baby/toddler in your care feeling scared of being in water?
Yes, they were very scared of all water
Yes, mainly scared of swimming pools
Initially cautious but fine once in water
No, they were not afraid of water
No, they were very confident in water
Millennial Mother Product Review
I have a confession to make. I can’t swim. I hate the water. I am petrified of not being in control. My mum took me to swimming lessons, I did swimming in school, my siblings are all good swimmers but me … I don’t even like going above my belly button in a swimming pool. You can imagine this makes it difficult to teach Nancy to swim. But, I am determined that she will love water.
It seems the done thing to do when you have a newborn is to attend baby swimming lessons. I personally didn’t attend baby swimming lessons partly because I hated my body and the thought of getting in a swimming pool in my swimming costume made me want to curl in a ball and partly because I was worried about the water with a little one. We tried to take her swimming once in a while during the first year of her life but she cried and I was so nervous. It didn’t really work. Everyone told me she had to start swimming for birth because otherwise she would never swim, she would hate the water and the whole world of swimming would collapse.
When Nancy was two we thought that maybe we needed to try swimming lessons to help us both feel confident in the water. At this point she didn’t even like baths and washing her hair left us both distressed. We signed up to one and we lasted maybe 4 weeks. Nancy cried and cried and clung to me in the water so tightly. I nearly exposed more than I wanted to as she clung to my swimming costume straps! We decided that her screaming for 30 minutes was a waste of time and money so we stopped swimming lessons. Plus when she cried I became nervous and I honestly think she picked up on my nerves. We tried to take her swimming a couple of times a month for the next 9 months. Although neither myself or my husband knew how to teach her to swim but we did help her develop confidence in the water. When we went on holiday this year she really fell in love with swimming.
Last month we decided to give swimming lessons another try. We spent a lot of time researching and found a lovely small business called Dolphin Swimming Academy run by Rich and his wife, Charlotte. He invited us to attend a free trial to see how Nancy got on and it really worked. Her instructor was so lovely and really took his time to make Nancy feel comfortable. He also has a magic watering can which is totally awesome.
We then made it fun by giving Nancy some fancy new swimming items from Splash About. She received a lovely swimming costume matched with a warm poncho to wrap around her when she got out the water. The idea of having something special for her swimming classes really made her feel excited about going. The costume itself is a beautiful design and Nancy definitely approved. I also find it so durable and we have used it a number of times and washes it with no problems. The poncho is an ideal purchase for putting on when Nancy gets out the pool, with a hood which keeps her head warm. The best part is that it washes and dries easily, so I imagine on holiday this would be a dream.
We then took her to a swimming class and from day 1 she went in the water on her own with the swimming teacher. This wasn’t too difficult because Nancy attends nursery so she is pretty confident without me. I honestly think going in the water on her own with a fabulous teacher is the dream combination. She now practices back stroke, bubbles in the water and even jumping off the water. For a girl who cried a year ago I couldn’t be more proud.
As I mentioned before, I’m nervous in the water. To try and help me with this and to increase my confidence I used Splash About’s floatsuit with Nancy. It’s different to armbands, because the floats are centred around Nancy’s chest and back so she can move her arms and now has more freedom in the water, it also puts her in a natural learn to swim position in the pool – watch this short video of the floatsuit in action here
I really hope the swimming lessons help Nancy grow into a strong confident swimmer who is able to enjoy the water safely. And in light of my title ‘what happens if you didn’t do water babies?’ Absolutely nothing. Nancy is learning to swim with children her own age. She grows more confident every week.
Splash About have a variety of products. I have previously purchased their happy nappies and they are ideal for youngsters as nothing is escaping those trunks. Here are my top picks
- Baby wrap to keep your newborn warm. Personally I love the Nina’s Ark print
- Happy Nappy Dragonfly costume. No number 2’s will escape those beauties.
- If I had a boy I would definitely be purchasing the Board surf shorts because they are so cool!
- Goggles are a great purchase. Nancy loves wearing them in the water and only lets the swimming teacher adjust them.
Thank you for reading everyone.
Guru Reviews Abigail & Cater: Baby Swimwear Bundle
Guru Reviews: Baby Swimwear Bundle
Reviewer: Abigail Fields
As a Mum of a very active toddler, I know first-hand how important it is to engage in stimulating activities. Swimming has always been a love of mine and it was always something I wanted to involve Carter in. Finding swimwear for babies and toddlers that are suitable for all types of water, be it regular swimming pools, hydrotherapy pools and the sea, can become very expensive. And the fact that your child is continuously growing at the speed of light, doesn’t bode well for our bank balances! The Splash About Baby Swim Kit combines all of those separate swimming costumes into one, for an affordable price, ensuring that they are long lasting and reusable.
The kit comes with the iconic ‘Happy Nappy’.A staple for every mini swimmer’s wardrobe. This is something we have used since Carter was 8 weeks old at his first swimming lesson and I will forever continue to recommend it. This soft neoprene nappy is kind to delicate skin but secure enough to prevent any leakage into the pool, (which is great peace of mind for any parent). The Happy Nappy, which is worn over the top of a reusable swim nappy can be used in warmer water or can be worn underneath the Baby Wrap for colder swimming conditions.
The Baby Wrap is perfect for those colder pools and the sea. It is incredibly easy to slip on, and with a wriggly toddler this is something I was extremely grateful for! The shoulders, torso and waist are secured with Velcro which enables you to adjust it specifically to your child’s body shape. (Another incredible money saver!) Both the Happy Nappy and Baby Wrap offer SPF 50+ protection against the sun and come in an array of designs which are certain to excite any young budding swimmer.
Finally, the kit comes with a reusable swim nappy and a pack of liners. This is something that is very new to me as I’ve always been guilty of buying disposable swim nappies. Not only do they cost a fortune, especially if your child swims on a regular basis, but they are harmful to the environment. The reusable nappy is an incredibly affordable alternative and the liners are 100% biodegradable (you can even flush them). They fit under the Happy Nappy perfectly and work just as well as the disposable nappies, but save you money in the process!
Protect your baby’s eczema from irritation at the swimming pool
How safe is it to take your baby with eczema swimming? It is well documented that swimming is extremely beneficial for babies. It can help aspects of their growth and encourage positive behavioural developments such as confidence and patience, as well as improve balance and coordination. Despite this, the pool can be extremely daunting for parents of babies with eczema as some might worry that chlorine will aggravate the skin and cause infection. However, research shows that it can provide long and short-term health benefits. Although there are concerns to consider before taking the plunge, there are a variety of ways to help protect your baby’s skin before, during and after swimming.
Bernadette Spofforth, managing director at children and baby swimwear specialist Splash About, says: “Swimming can be a bit of a worry for parents of babies with eczema, which is understandable, but if you do your research you’ll find those fears can be put to rest and swimming can become an enjoyable experience for everyone.
“It is an important skill for anybody to master and having eczema doesn’t necessarily mean that learning how to swim isn’t a possibility for your child.”
Research how the pool is cleaned
The majority of public swimming pools are cleaned with chlorine, which can make skin dry and cause aggravation. As part of an eczema and swimming factsheet, the National Eczema Society advises you to contact the facilities to find out what time they add the chlorine into the pool and to avoid swimming immediately afterwards. The higher the level of chlorine, the larger the risk of skin irritation.
Other options that can be kinder but are much more uncommon are pools containing ozone, which usually aren’t as drying to the skin, and salt water, which can be soothing but can also sting the skin if the child has broken skin.
When exploring each possibility, it is advised that you only spend a short amount of time in the pool in case it worsens your child’s condition.
“Unfortunately, it is trial and error to find the most suitable option for your baby’s skin. You may want to arrange a taster session with a swimming teacher, which most are happy to do,” Bernadette said.
Apply barrier cream and moisturiser
As swimming pool water can be quite drying due to the cleaning chemicals it contains, applying a generous amount of moisturiser an hour before can stop these chemicals from angering the skin. If a child has unhealed scratches, a barrier cream will help protect them from external irritants and infections. After leaving the pool and showering, apply moisturiser again.
Dr Adam Friedmann, from The Harley Street Dermatology Clinic, said : “Chlorine is quite an irritant to eczema, so often parents complain that the children get dramatically worse after swimming. Before swimming, I suggest applying a greasy moisturising cream all over the child, as this acts a little like a barrier and can prevent the chlorine irritating the eczema, whilst hydrating the skin.
“Ensure your child showers afterwards and moisturises well before getting dressed. I normally advise to wash the child using only creams, not soaps or detergent (EG aqueous cream, Dermol 500). Then, re-apply the child’s regular moisturiser immediately.
“I’d recommend when bathing or showering to use warm water, as hot water can make eczema worse, and keep baths/showers short as the skin can get irritated if kept in the water for too long.”
Use a protective wetsuit
A baby wetsuit is ideal for preventing children from scratching vulnerable areas of their body. Another benefit is that it will stop any barrier cream that is applied underneath the suit from being rubbed off or absorbed by the fabric. Equally, such suits allow parents to keep a firm grip of their child in the water. A wetsuit also helps protect the skin from abrasions due to the material on swimming floats, and from being in contact with other external irritants.
Water temperatures that help and hurt
Baby swimming classes are often held in warm temperatures, which are usually ideal for infants but not for eczema sufferers. Health experts warn that this can be drying to skin and worsen existing symptoms, while cooler water can be extremely soothing towards angry skin. Before taking your child, it is always worthwhile ringing the centre to find out the pool’s temperature.
Prevent itching at night
Many babies with eczema struggle to sleep due to their itchy skin and anything that can be done to change this is a huge help for parents. Recent findings discovered that for every hour of the day a child is inactive, three minutes are added on to the time it takes them to fall asleep. Swimming is a great way to get children active from a young age and although it isn’t guaranteed that they will sleep well every night, using the extra energy can improve sleeping patterns.
Short and long-term health benefits
Research shows that up to 80% of children with eczema develop asthma later in life. However, swimming can help control the symptoms by strengthening the heart and lungs.
Swimming can help irritated skin because chlorine kills the bacteria that develops infections. However, the National Eczema Society advises parents to avoid taking their child swimming if their skin is already infected or flaring badly.
Mumii VIP Jonathan's Review of Go Splash Swim Vest
Mumii VIP Jonathan
Mumii VIP Jonathan, his wife Louise and their 2-year-old daughter had lots of fun while testing the Go Splash Swim Vest from Splash About!
A really lovely design and great fit. Our daughter is quite petite for her age so we selected the 1-2 year old size. It fitted perfectly and was really easy to put on.
My daughter loved the vest. She would even try it on and wear it around the house, as you can see!
The fit was great and it had a really easy-to-use big zip, which was great with wet fingers. There was plenty of space between the top of the vest and my daughters chin, which was good – given its buoyancy, I was worried in case it kept rising up in the water, but it didn’t. It floated really well, though, and was definitely helpful. My daughter is still learning to swim and she was able to practise (and enjoy herself!) far more effectively in the Go Splash vest than when using standard armbands.
The design is also really pretty and I think this helped as there was never any fuss about putting it on; my daughter loved wearing it.
It’s also easy to get off whilst in the water. Some swim items are really fiddly and when it’s just one adult in the water it can make them almost impossible to use. This vest, however, was super straightforward.
The material is soft and dries really quickly.
I would definitely use this product again and would recommend it for use.
There were some lovely design choices, but I’d like to see more and have personalisation available too if possible. I think they would make a great gift if you could.
- Really soft
- Easy to fit
- Useful cover to prevent the child easily unzipping the vest
- I think the sizes are quite wide-ranging so having one for ages 2-4 could be very large for a 2-year-old; maybe half sizes would be better
I would recommend this product to other parents!