Grayson O'Neill from Kildare enjoys his weekly swims at the Westgrove Hotel, Clane
Now in its third year, National Baby Swimming Week runs from today, Monday 14 to Sunday 20 October. It is a wonderful opportunity to discover all the joys and benefits of baby swimming for infants and parents alike. Kildare's Grayson O’Neill, photographed above is aged 16 months, and swims regularly at the Westgrove Hotel, Clane - and little Grayson absolutely loves his swimming classes.
Jenny, his Mum, says “Grayson has benefited greatly as a result. He’s confident in the water and it’s helped him gain strength for walking and to meet his milestones as he grows. His balance is great as a result of standing on and jumping off the float in the water”.
Water Babies, Ireland’s leading toddler and baby swim school celebrates National Baby Swimming this week across the country and aims to create awareness about why swimming is one of the best starts you can give children in life. Discover all the benefits it brings, from keeping them safe to nurturing their development and boosting their confidence – to name but a few.
Surprisingly, it’s one of the few things that most babies can do from birth, and it feels entirely natural to them as they’ve just spent nine months in the womb. Because they’re free of the restrictions of gravity, and able to use muscles they’d never use until they start rolling, crawling, walking and running, babies love the sense of freedom water gives them.
And whilst the emphasis in water babies lessons is often on strengthening the bond between parent and child, swimming from birth is also excellent for their development.
The HSE advises that you can take your baby swimming at any time before and after their immunisations – so it’s never to too soon to get them in the pool, as long as the water is warm enough (above 30C for a baby older than 12 weeks or heavier than 12lbs, and above 32C if they’re younger or smaller).
Baby swimming is academically proven to have a number of physical, mental and emotional benefits. By the time they start school, children who have been to structured swimming classes in the early years were found to be ahead of their non-swimming peers by 11 months when it comes to oral expression. As well as helping to significantly impact little ones’ strength and co-ordination, baby swimming has also been proven to boost confidence and stimulate positive emotions.
Carol McNally who brought the multi award winning Water Babies classes to Ireland 10 years ago said “Besides the obvious safety benefits, baby swimming lessons are one of the best things you can do to bond with your baby, as well as being excellent for development, they help little one’s development.”
Enjoying a swim, with all these added benefits, is a great reason to take to the pool during National Baby Swimming Week! Swim over to www.waterbabies.ie to discover what’s so fantastic about baby swimming - and find a class near you!