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September 10, 2013 at 7:12 pm #16388AnonymousInactive
Water Baby Mila Pickett Saves Herself After Falling Into Swimming Pool
Nicola and Alex Pickett from Bangor, Co Down were on a family holiday in Majorca a few months ago, when their nineteen month old daughter Mila, who had grown very confident around the pool since her swimming lessons with Water Babies, ran to greet her father along the side of the pool, lost her footing and toppled over the edge into the pool.
Nicola immediately panicked and ran towards the pool; “I saw Mila run towards her dad to greet him and then she just disappeared. I ran straight for the pool but in the meantime Mila had turned herself upright, kicked to the surface and was holding on to the poolside with one arm, kicking her legs on her back just as we do in her swimming lessons. She wasn’t scared at all, just a little shocked by the cool temperature of the pool.”
“We started taking Mila to Water Babies classes when she was just four months old and I firmly believe that without this training she wouldn’t have surfaced, let alone known how to right herself and hold onto the side. This incident proved to me the importance of the skills she has learnt. It’s given me real peace of mind as a parent knowing that she is safe in and around the water.”
“I even took my son Mathias along to Water Babies for over a year as he was scared of water,” Nicola explains. “Washing his hair was a complete nightmare and yet now he spends more time underwater than above it, the confidence he has in water is unbelievable!”
Mila attends Water Babies classes at the Phoenix Clinic and Resource Centre in Newtownards. Amy West-Hurst, who runs Water Babies classes across Northern Ireland, says: “Tragically drowning is the third highest cause of accidental death among children in the UK. In most cases it’s the shock of sudden submersion that causes children to panic. We believe that by introducing babies to the water from as early as possible, they’ll be less likely to experience fear if they do fall in.”
As well as teaching babies important water safety skills, baby swimming lessons are a good form of gentle exercise for parents and babies whilst also being great for enhancing the whole bonding experience. “We try to make our classes as fun, sociable and energetic as possible,” explains Amy. “It’s also a great way for parents to meet other mums and dads who live in the local area.”
Water Babies operate classes in Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Galway, Louth, Meath, Kildare, Tipperary, Wexford, Waterford, Carlow, Kilkenny, Kerry and Sligo. For further information, check out http://www.waterbabies.ie
About Water Babies
• Water Babies is the world’s largest baby swim school, teaching more than 35,500 babies each week through a growing network of family businesses across the UK, Ireland and Sydney, Australia
• Water Babies in Ireland now has four regional franchises teaching over 2,500 babies & toddlers each week across Dublin, Cork, Galway, Sligo, Wexford, Waterford, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Louth, Kildare, Meath, Wicklow, Carlow and Kerry.
• Having fun and enjoying the water is our primary aim – we never want our Water Babies to actually feel like they’re in a lesson. Most will happily be swimming distances underwater by about 30 months, then naturally start swimming on the surface as their strength increases.
• Water Babies were named “Best Activity Provider for Tots & Toddlers” at the first annual Families First Awards which were held in Dublin in May 2012 and then won the award again in 2013. Water Babies was also named ‘Best National Baby & Pre-Schooler Development Activity (0-5years)’ by ‘What’s on 4 Little Ones’.
• In the last five years, Water Babies has won seven national consumer awards in the UK: Best Swimming Class, Best Baby Development Activity, Best National Baby & Toddler Development Activity (2010, 2011 and 2012) and Most Outstanding Activity Leader for the Under 5s Nationwide with What’s On 4 Little Ones, and Best Children’s Activity with Tommy’s
• In 2013, Water Babies raised over €33,000 for Crumlin Children’s Hospital, Temple St Children’s University Hospital and Tallaght Hospital during Water Babies Splashathon which took place in April.
• Since 2009, Water Babies has raised almost €100,000 for Ireland’s National children’s hospitals.
Babies have natural reflexes that mean they instinctively hold their breath when submerged. However, the Water Babies course actually teaches babies to control their breathing instead of relying on reflexes, thus negating the risk of water inhalation and giving the babies a sense of being fully in control
The core points of difference between Water Babies classes and mainstream baby swimming lessons are:
o We teach babies from birth. Two days was our youngest client, but normally they start at around six weeks
o The course is highly structured, including clear progression, aims and objectives and a detailed lesson plan for each of the 40 weeks
o We teach without the use floatation devices. This is in order to prevent children developing a false sense of security and because the water naturally supports their body weight
o Children lack the strength or co-ordination to swim on the surface until at least two years. From birth we enable them to swim short distances underneath, allowing them to move freely without constraints of gravity
o Being totally happy underwater creates a complete sense of confidence when on the surface
• All Water Babies instructors must first complete their full mainstream swimming qualifications with either Swim Ireland or Irish Water Safety before commencing the intensive 25 days Water Babies training course. All instructors must also be qualified lifesavers, renewed bi-annually and be Garda vetted.
• In July 2011, Water Babies signed a Skills Pledge with the UK’s Institute of Swimming (IoS) to provide premium education and training in baby and pre-school swimming, developing the only ASA externally accredited programme for under four year olds
• In June 2012 Water Babies teamed up with The University of Manchester to undertake a research study which will be the first of its kind to examine the physical and psychological impact of structured, taught baby swimming classes on parents, babies and the family unit as a whole.
• Water Babies is the only swim company to have its own in-house, award-winning underwater baby photography unit. Last year, we took more than 73,000 individual shots.
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