Splash About Blog

  1. Winter swimming lessons: why are they important?
    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.

    Survey data

    “What times of the year do you take your baby/toddler swimming?”

    Answers

    Percentage (%)

    Only in summer

    28.8

    Only in winter

    3.8

    Only on sunny/warm days

    13.3

    Only on rainy/cold days

    6.1

    All year round

    37.9

    Most of the year but I avoid winter time

    10.2

    Read more
  2. How to get young children past a fear of swimming
    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.”

    Motivational tactics

    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

    10.2%

    Yes, mainly scared of swimming pools

    11.2%

    Initially cautious but fine once in water

    27.9%

    No, they were not afraid of water

    34%

    No, they were very confident in water

    16.7%

    Read more
  3. Protect your baby’s eczema from irritation at the swimming pool
    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.

    Read more
  4. Tip and advice for staying safe in the sun
    Tip and advice for staying safe in the sun

    Last month we put out a shout out to all our fabulous splash parents in order to gather the best tips and advice for staying safe in the sun. We know the best advice comes from real people and real parents, not some marketing graduate in an office and you have done us so proud! If we could we would show all the advice that was entered but then it would be 100 pages long! So we have chosen a select few (plus our two winners) of our favourite entries…

     

    We hope you enjoy and find them as useful as we did…

    MarTina Mik

    1. Cover your little one as much as you can, including sun hats and UV swimsuit
    2. Use sunscreen. Best with no chemical filters, those in supermarkets not really the best choice. Use non nano uncoated Zinc Oxide, as it’s not chemical filter and saves environment as well.
    3. Plenty of water but be careful not to drink cold water as it’s the worst you can do in hot weather for your body and especially your baby’s body
    4. Snack, Bucket, Sunshade tent and you’re good to go

    Melanie Feltham

    Make a game out of putting cream on. We ask our little one to count the squires of cream or how many he wants on each part of his body so he has some control. We also let him see us put cream on - advice make it fun (meltdowns will happen). Also making a shade den is a good tip - however- we've only managed a parasol this year- I'm in the middle of sewing a teepee right now - but will use the sheet over a washing line tip any day. Ohh and lots of hats to choose from -2 year old likes choice! Haha

    Becki Jo-Ann

    Keeping out of the heat at the hottest part of the day is important, especially with little ones. Making sure you have well and frequently applied suncream with a 5 star uva and uvb rating is a must, as is keeping your skin covered with loose clothing. Always make sure you have a hat on too! Keep hydrated, but be careful not to drink icy water as this can actually be harmful especially for little ones. Be safe and make sure your sunny days are enjoyable!

    Margaret Gallagher

    1st and foremost: SPF - cover up with cotton / UPF clothing and hats with childproof sunglasses too

    2nd: Teach water safety

    3rd: Always ensure one person is watching at all times on the beach. Do it in turns

    Common sense to say – don’t let your children go out to far in the sea especially with inflatables.

    Katherine Howard (Was Shore)

    In addition to the usual - high factor sun cream, hats, correct uva sunglasses, good swimwear with a high UPF rating, plenty to drink, get a flannel and soak it in water, then freeze it. Take it out in the morning and put into a plastic bag (in a freezer bag if possible for longer use) and take it out when you go out with little ones. Give their face a cool wipe for a nice cool break from the heat. Works a treat x

    Gemma Louise Davies

    My children love to wear the sunscreen bands which monitor uv sun exposure and change colour to let you know when to reapply sunscreen and when to cover up and get out of the sun. My daughter also has a doll (Sonny Ciccibello Doll) which actually tans when he is left in the sun- however these marks magically vanish when the doll is no longer exposed to sunlight! I think being sun savvy is of upmost importance.

    Beth McQuade

    Cover head to toe in protective clothing. Apply sun cream at least half hour before going out. A decent hat that covers the neck and ears.

    Regular suncream application...

    And on top of that staying safe in the water with a parent always watching. Swimming between the red and yellow flags. Learning the dangers of the water!! (I’m a baby and pre school swim Teacher)

    Joanne Atkins

    If going to the beach you can take a cheap shower curtain dig a little pool in the sand line it with the curtain and fill with a little water for a perfect size baby pool anywhere on the beach keeping your little ones cool! To keep baby safe from the sun while they play in it take a pop up UV tent without a base (or cut the base out) and place it over your little pool so it’s safe and in the shade!

    Such excellent advice! We also just want to say a huge thank you to everyone that entered. We’ll be a lot safer in the sun next year after reading all your advice!

    Happy Splashing!

    Read more
  5. A delicate balance: protecting your child’s skin from the sun
    A delicate balance: protecting your child’s skin from the sun

    As scientists highlight the extent of DNA damage that children experience from even small amounts of sun exposure, new questions arise as to how much is too much, how optimum vitamin D levels can be achieved and how best to protect children’s delicate skin from the sun.

    Just how dangerous is the sun for our children’s skin? As we enjoy an unprecedented yet welcome summer heatwave across the UK, basking in a long overdue dose of natural vitamin D production, it’s easy to forget — or overlook — the damage the sun’s rays can cause, particularly for delicate young skin.

    But new research from scientists at King’s College London serves as a timely reminder. The study, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, looked at 32 children aged 10 and under at a 12-day summer camp in Poland, measuring levels of vitamin D alongside a urine biomarker of DNA damage that can lead to skin cancer, known as CPD.

    At the end of the 12-day period, during which the weather was not particularly sunny, the researchers found a 25% increase in average vitamin D concentrations in the children’s blood but measured nearly 13 times more CPD on average in comparison to levels at the start. This could suggest that children are even more sensitive to the damaging effects of the sun than previously thought, or that their bodies are better at repairing the damage, the researchers concluded.

    A careful balance

    In light of these findings, how do parents strike a balance between the beneficial effects of the sun as our main source of vitamin D and the risks of overexposure? Since sunburn is a well-known risk factor for skin cancer in older age, there perhaps needs to be clearer warnings around the impact of ultraviolet (UV) rays on children’s skin, even when the weather isn’t sunny.

    Lead researcher for the study Professor Antony Young, from the St John’s Institute of Dermatology at King’s College London, agreed “it can be a confusing message” when trying to ensure children remain healthy and produce sufficient levels of vitamin D by playing outside, , while also staying protected from the sun. “Our study suggests that only small amounts of exposure to the sun are needed to ensure vitamin D sufficiency so we should make sure that children always have ample sun protection when playing outside for long periods,” he said on the paper’s publication. “This should be in the form of sunscreen, clothing and hats and the use of shade, even when you may not judge the weather to be that sunny.”

    Smart sun safety

    The NHS advises that babies and children need to have their skin protected between March and October in the UK, with infants under six months being kept out of direct sunlight completely.

    Other NHS recommendations include:

    • covering exposed parts of your child’s skin with sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 and is effective against UVA and UVB rays — even on cloudy or overcast days
    • encouraging your child to play in the shade, particularly between 11am and 3pm
    • covering your child up in loose, cotton clothes and a floppy hat with a wide brim
    • taking care to cover your child’s shoulders and the back of their neck when they’re playing, since these are the most common areas for sunburn
    • giving babies and young children aged six months to five years a daily supplement containing vitamin D

    Abi Cleeve, skincare expert and managing director of sun protection brand Ultrasun, says the amount of sun cream and the timing of its application is also key to protecting children’s skin properly: “Always apply sun protection to cool, clean, dry skin in the shade 15 to 30 minutes before you or your children go into the sun. It’s important that this step is followed regardless of what sun cream brand you choose as in direct sunlight, sun cream applied to skin can evaporate before it has a chance to bond with the skin and therefore becomes less effective.

    “As a rule of thumb, use a teaspoon of sunscreen for each arm, leg, front, back and face — including neck and ears,” she adds.

    And if your child is swimming, the NHS advises, a waterproof sunblock should be used and reapplied after towelling. UV protective wetsuits are also available, which enable your child’s skin to be covered and protected at the same time.

    Bernadette Spofforth, managing director at children and baby swimwear specialist Splash About, says: “Although the findings of the King’s College study read as quite alarming, parents needn’t panic so long as they’re ensuring their children’s skin is properly protected from the damaging effects of UV rays, even on seemingly cloudy days.

    “All the guidance is there, although there is perhaps not enough emphasis on how much more vulnerable to sun damage children’s skin is when in water. Using a high-factor, water-resistant sunblock is a must, but this protection should be reinforced with a UV-protective garment that covers the arms and legs.

    “This means that, even if the sunscreen has washed or rubbed off, your child’s skin is protected,” Bernadette adds.

    Although the latest research provides a timely warning, there’s no reason why families cannot enjoy this spell of good weather safely — while it lasts.

    Read more
  6. Drowning Prevention Week 15-25th June 2018
    Drowning Prevention Week 15-25th June 2018

     Next week, we see the beginning of the annual Drowning Prevention Week campaign, and to support the Royal Life Saving Society’s aim of reducing the number of drowning and near drowning instances in the UK, we’re cutting all our buoyancy product prices by 15%! Your child can safely learn all the valuable life saving skills needed when splashing about in and near the water at a lower the cost, just use code DPW18 at checkout to redeem. (see below for full T&Cs).

    Does my child need to learn to swim?

    Simple answer, YES! Over 700 people drown in the UK and Ireland every year and many more suffer injury, some life changing, through near-drowning experience.

    “More people die from drowning in the UK and Ireland than from domestic fires or cycling accidents”- source rlss.org 

    You can easily protect your child from suffering from the same fate by simply teaching them to swim, either by regularly going to swimming classes or by teaching them to swim yourself. Learning to swim is the best preventative against drowning and the sooner everyone learns to swim the safer we will be.

     

    How to stay safe around the water?  

    1. Stop and think; Look for the dangers and always read the signs

      Is there a life guard on duty? Is the environment safe to swim in? Is the environment easily accessible if you need to get help? If the answer is no to any of these questions, just stop and think if this is the best and safest place for you and your family to swim in.

    2. Stay together

      There is truth to the saying ‘safety in numbers’, the more of you there are, the more eyes can be watching for dangers and the safer your family will be. It only takes a few seconds for someone, adult or child, to go from happily splashing about to finding themselves struggling. Stay together and stay aware.

    3. Stay calm and get help

      If you ever find yourself or your family in trouble when in the water, the most important thing to do is stay calm. Simply float, don’t waste valuable energy thrashing about and struggling against the water, we all have a level of natural buoyancy in our bodies that can keep us above water. Simply float, and reassess how to safely get yourself out of the water.

    4. Call for help

      Call 999 or 112 in emergencies and always shout for help so others are aware that there is someone in need of help.

    How can I help prevent my child from drowning?

    Drowning is preventable and the best way to prevent your child from drowning is to make sure they can swim strongly and confidently.

    Here are some very simple ways in how you can help your child become water safe;

    1. Take them to swim classes as early as possible.

      There are hundreds of swim schools in the UK that offer fantastic swim classes for babies and children. Use our Find a swim school feature to find your local school- https://www.splashabout.com/swim-schools

    2. Swim as a family

      Don’t stop swimming after lessons, taking your child swimming can not only build their water confidence and strengthen their swimming skills but it can also build yours too. We have an entire range of swimwear to help take baby, toddler and children to the pool much easier; from our swim school approved Happy Nappy swim nappy range to our pool and changing products that ease changing room tantrums and can get your baby warm, clean and dry in no time, including our Splash Mat Changing Mats and Apres Splash towelling.

    3. Use buoyancy aids to build and strengthen confidence.

      Young children often feel scared when in the water, our range of adjustable buoyancy Floatsuits are designed to support your child when in the water by keeping them in the correct position for swimming. Floats can gradually be removed until your child can swim confidently unaided. All our buoyancy products are currently 15% OFF when using the code DPW18 at checkout.

    4. Be aware and understand the water code;

      Stop and think, stay together, float and always call for help (999/112)

    The RLSS do an amazing job at keeping everyone safe in and around the water, for more information on how you can keep your family safe or to support the RLSS go to https://rlss.org.uk

    *Terms and conditions; 15% off buoyancy products DPW18 code: only valid on buoyancy products. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. UK delivery only. Offer ends at midnight 25/06/18

    Shop 15% off buoyancy now>

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  7. Learning for life!
    Learning for life!

    As everyone starts this new year afresh, with resolutions made and not yet broken I thought this would be a good opportunity to remind you why those baby swimming lessons are so important and why you could make it a 2018 resolution to get booked in and start Splashing About!

    Splash About is the world’s leading supplier of specialist baby swim wear, with the famous Happy Nappy insisted upon by leading swim schools in order to keep pools free from leaks. We work with some of the best and most respected baby swim professionals all over the world. They all agree baby swimming is an essential part of your baby’s development.

    Water safety

    Drowning is the second biggest cause of accidental death in under 5’s in the developed world. Teaching your child to swim is the greatest life skill you can give them

    . In the UK there are hundreds of specially trained professionals working in specialist swim schools all over the country, check here to find one closest to you.

     

    It's never too early to start

    In the UK, specialist lessons can start from as young as one day old. The NHS guidelines agree that there is no need to wait until your baby has been vaccinated before they go swimming. Although keeping baby warm is essential.

    Bonding Kangaroo style; Skin to Skin

    Swimming provides the perfect way to have that important skin to skin contact with your baby. These early bonding experiences can help to deeply connect with your child, in a meaningful and calming way. Sharing the swimming experience can be particularly important if baby is unsettled and mum/dad is tired.

    Physical and Mental wellbeing

    Physical activity and mental stimulation is good for your baby’s physical development, as an added bonus it increases their appetite and tires them out. The water provides a warm and relaxing environment outside of their normal routine, which helps to promote a more calm and contented mood. Swimming lessons provide a great workout for your baby, helping to strengthen their heart, lungs and muscles. It also stimulates the nerves that formulate the senses in the brain.

    Good habits

    Providing early opportunities for physical activity helps children become habit forming and we know that babies who are more active, tend to be more physical later in life, which can help them to stay fit both physically and mentally into adulthood.

     

     

    Strength

    Physical activity builds muscle strength. Whilst swimming water resistance helps babies use their muscles more efficiently and research has shown that babies who swim regularly, walk earlier than those who haven’t, this more rapid progress if due to better muscle control and core strength.

    Structure and routine

    Babies and toddlers with good daily routines sleep better and are more prepared for learning activities at school. Early swim routines help them get into the habit of being ready at a certain time each week. Routines also provide a bit of structure and social activity for frazzled parents.

     

     

    Co-ordination

    Research including a Norwegian study show that babies who swim regularly have better balance and grasp objects more intuitively than those that don’t swim. Water activities such as kicking, splashing and floating all aid improved co ordination. In Iceland swimming babies as young as 3 months old are showing standing skills normally only attained by babies of 9 or 10 months old.

     

     

     

    Fear of Water

    Many non-swimming children develop a fear of water, meaning they never learn to swim, putting themselves and others in danger. Early water experiences allow a child to understand their buoyancy and develop skills that could one day save their lives.

     

     

    Learning through play

    From your first lesson babies will learn for to respond to repetitive and fun commands. Singing songs, clapping hands, splashing faces and many more water experiences increase your baby’s mental skills and their cognitive levels of understanding. So much so that by the time they reach school age studies have shown children who swam in their baby and toddler years, were up to 15 months ahead of non-swimmers in language, counting and problem solving skills.

     

     

    Citations and references

        • Professor Liselott Diam – Cologne
        • H Sigmundsson & Hopkins - “Baby Swimming and exploring the effects of early intervention on subsequent motor abilities in childcare, health and development.
        • Diem, Undeutsch, Lehr, Olbrich “Early Motor Stimulation and personal development: A study of 4-6 year old German children”
        • Field T, Scafidi F, Scanaberg S, “Message of preterm Newborns to improve Growth and Development” pediatric nursing
        • German Sports collage cologne “ Baby swimming: Advance independence and Development of intelligence”

     

     

     

     

     

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  8. What do you mean it's nearly 2018?
    What do you mean it's nearly 2018?

    I’m not sure where this year went, I think I remember April vaguely, but have no recollection of March or August and now it’s nearly Christmas. Ridiculous!

    This has been a huge year for Splash About; I honestly don’t think we could have fitted anymore in.

    The Splash Lab completed trials of the new Happy Nappy and Splash Jammers that we had started to develop in 2016 and by May we had launched both new products, which are already award winning and loved by swim schools globally.

    I think we’re still traumatized to be honest. We must have measured thousands of chunky baby thighs and milk filled tummies in schools up and down the country, to get the perfect range of measurements for mass production of the new Happy Nappy and Jammers.

    And then we made some videos, with lots more babies and toddlers, but that’s not all; we also launched a brand new set of beautiful designs, had a massive casting to choose perfect new babies for our photography, went on location to the windiest beach in the UK, chose our fantastic Guru’s from hundreds of great entries, designed and launched a new website on a whole new platform, built an in-house photographic studio and then fitted in a quick trip to the USA, to give a talk about poo in pools to hundreds of fantastic swimming teachers. Phew!

    Actually I can’t really remember September either. Oh wait yes I can, I packed off two of my own children to university and my food bill went down. That was quite a good month.

    In addition, our Splash team have fitted in holidays to Australia, Cyprus, Disneyworld, Spain, Italy and Bude.

    And now, it’s the end of December we really couldn’t have fitted anymore in at all, it’s been epic. So here are some thankyous.

    Thank you to our Gurus – you know who you are, you have been wonderful and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all your feedback and product testing efforts.

    Thank you to Tuna fish – Your Videos, your patience, the stunned look on your faces when babies swam underwater. we’ll never forget that.

    Thank you Will and Jen at Will Shaddock Photography for all your amazing photography this year. I’ve been promised an on location shoot in hotter climates next year, so get your sun tan cream ready.

    Thank you to our fantastic factories, that worked so hard to meet our launch deadlines and then worked even harder when our sales were far higher than our forecasts. We couldn’t do it without you, you are part of the Splash family.

    Thank you to our partners all over the world, in 34 countries actually, who have sold and promoted our products all year, from Europe to South Korea, from Australia to Hawaii you have all been fantastic and we salute you.

    Thank you to our Splash Teams who have all worked above and beyond all year. Thank you for not even moaning when the experimental “leave work at 3.30 on Fridays” came to an end in September. (don’t worry, we’ll try again next year)

    Thank you to the mums, dads and grandparents of the hundreds of babies and toddlers we have measured, prodded, poo inspected, photographed and filmed.  Our products look good because of you and your small person.

    Finally Thank you to all the wonderful swim schools and swim teachers all over the world who put their faith in our new nappies and in us. You took the best swim nappy product in the world and simply replaced it with our new version because we said it was better. Your faith in us has been validated, as the new nappy rolled out and has proved to be even more reliable against baby poo leaks.

    Now all I have to say is Happy Christmas, have a fantastic family time doing all the things you love, with all the people you care about. See you back here in a couple of weeks. Roll on 2018, we are ready for you!

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  9. Splash-tastic Gingerbread Babies!
    Splash-tastic Gingerbread Babies!

    We’re feeling festive this Christmas and decided to try our hand at baking some Happy Nappy themed gingerbread babies. They make the perfect after swim snack!

    They are super easy to make and are ideal for keeping children occupied during the holidays. If they’re baking cookies they won’t be hunting for presents!

    Here’s how to make them…

    What you’ll need:

    • 350g plain flour (plus extra for rolling out)
    • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    • 2 tsp ground ginger
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 125g butter
    • 175g light soft brown sugar
    • 1 free-range egg
    • 4 tbsp golden syrup

    To decorate:

    • Icing sugar
    • Food colouring
    • Cake decorations (optional)

    Tools:

    • Gingerbread men cookie cutter

    READY, SET, BAKE:

    1. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and pour into a large mixing bowl and stir together using a wooden spoon. Add the butter and blend until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. We found it easier to use our hands rather than a wooden spoon (just make sure any little helping hands are thoroughly cleaned before and after this stage) and then stir in the sugar.
    2. Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix together until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
    3. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
    4. Roll the dough out to a 0.5cm thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using cutters, cut out the gingerbread baby shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them.
    5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.

    Handy Tip: If your gingerbread babies come out of the oven slightly misshapen or have spread, you can always use the gingerbread cutter again on the baked cookies to reshape them (just remove i.e. eat any offcuts). Be careful not to burn yourself, wait until the cookies are warm (not hot) before you touch them.

    1. When cooled decorate with the icing and cake decorations.

    How to decorate a Happy Nappy onto a gingerbread baby:  

    1. Mix the icing sugar powder with a drop of water (instructions should be on the back of the packet) to a smooth yet stiff consistency. Then pipe an outline of the Happy Nappy onto the gingerbread baby (Tip: If you do not have access to a piping bag, use a small freezer bag, moving the icing to one of the corners and make a small hole for the icing to be piped through). Then leave to dry
    2. Mix another batch of icing, this time adding a drop of food colouring (colour optional) once mixed, pipe the coloured icing within the iced outline of the Happy Nappy waist and leg bands.
    3. Follow Step 2 again but this time using a different food colour to decorate the body of the nappy.

    Leave to dry and then they are ready to eat!

     

    Gluten free version:

    What you’ll need:

    • 225g rice flour (plus extra for dusting the work top)
    • 125g gram flour
    • 1 tsp xanthan gum
    • 2 tsp ground ginger
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
    • 100g butter
    • 175g dark soft brown sugar
    • 4 tbsp golden syrup
    • 1 egg

    To decorate:

    • Icing sugar
    • Food colouring
    • Cake decorations (optional)

    Tools:

    • Gingerbread men cookie cutter

    READY, SET, BAKE:

    1. In a mixing bowl combine the flours, xanthan gum, spices and bicarbonate of soda. Mix them thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Add the butter and process again till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and mix again.
    2. Add the golden syrup and egg and stir until the mixture starts to come together. Tip out onto a (rice) floured surface and form the dough into a smooth ball. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
    3. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
    4. Roll the dough out to a 0.5cm thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using cutters, cut out the gingerbread baby shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them.
    5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.

    Handy Tip: If your gingerbread babies come out of the oven slightly misshapen or have spread, you can always use the gingerbread cutter again on the baked cookies to reshape them (just remove i.e. eat any offcuts). Be careful not to burn yourself, wait until the cookies are warm (not hot) before you touch them.

    1. When cooled decorate with the icing and cake decorations.

    How to decorate a Happy Nappy onto a gingerbread baby:

    1. Mix the icing sugar powder with a drop of water (instructions should be on the back of the packet) to a smooth yet stiff consistency. Then pipe an outline of the Happy Nappy onto the gingerbread baby (Tip: If you do not have access to a piping bag, use a small freezer bag, moving the icing to one of the corners and make a small hole for the icing to be piped through). Then leave to dry
    2. Mix another batch of icing, this time adding a drop of food colouring (colour optional) once mixed, pipe the coloured icing with in the iced outline of the Happy Nappy waist and leg bands.
    3. Follow Step 2 again but this time either using a different food colour to decorate the body of the nappy.

    Leave to dry and then they are ready to eat!

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  10. Winter Swimming
    Winter Swimming

    Swimming in the winter? Are you serious?

    Yes really, I know you don’t feel much like battling the rain and wind on the way to the changing rooms from the car, but trust me you and your baby are worth it.

    Although it’s tempting to stay inside and keep warm, studies show that getting out and about even in the fiercest of weather is great for body and soul. Winter can be especially hard on new mums and can isolate them from friends and family leaving them feeling lonely. Baby and toddler swimming lessons are a great way of meeting and mixing with other mums and allows babies the time to socialize with other babies. Plus getting out of the house for a few hours will leave you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and feeling more relaxed. I promise. So if you aren’t enrolled in lessons, have a look for your local baby swim class by using our ‘Find a Swim School’ checker. Start a new hobby this winter!

    There are of course other things to consider with winter swimming, even though pools are lovely and warm, it’s important that babies and toddlers don’t feel too chilly in changing rooms, where the air is cooler this time of year. We recommend wrapping up even when in the pool and have developed a range of specialist baby swimwear for even the coldest of days.

     

    Fleecy wetsuit – This cuddly Warm In One is the perfect way for your baby to keep warm even in cooler pools. This super soft fleece lined wetsuit, is easy to get on and off and will insulate babies body, legs and arms, helping them to regulate their body temperature and enjoy the water for longer.

     

     

    Happy Nappy Wetsuit – This super value wetsuit has a built in Happy Nappy that means it’s perfect for all baby swim classes. Made from super soft neoprene, the Happy Nappy Wetsuit is the choice of swim teachers and thousands of babies agree.

     

     

     

    Baby Wrap – For chunky toddlers and slippery newborns the BabyWrap is the most versatile of wetsuits, designed to keep the core body warm, leaving maximum movement for arms and legs to kick and splash. Perfect for those most energetic little people.

     

     

    Swim Hat – Not only do these hats keep little heads warm but they also serve to protect sensitive skin from chlorine.

     

    Keeping warm after swimming, can be tricky and our range of wetsuits will continue to keep baby warm even in the chilliest of changing room whilst you get dressed. Our waterproof, antibacterial Changing Mat is great for baby to lie on and our range of Apres Splash cuddly toweling all in ones and hooded towels make dressing a much less stressful task.

    Come on, get out there this winter and enjoy the benefits baby swimming brings to both of you.

     

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