This weekend we attend the Small & Mighty Children’s Market in Ballarat, country Victoria. Not only was I blown away with how beautifully dressed the children were but how many friendly families stopped and chatted to us about swimming lessons and the great recreational pools and swimming schools there are in Ballarat Victoria, some even offering a free trial lesson.
We discussed mostly the average age that they had started their babies swimming and most felt that 6 months was about right. Very young babies are unable to regulate their body temperature for the duration of a 30 minute lesson until they are about 4-5months old. Also an immature immune system is something to consider. Most were continuing their swimming program into winter, in preparedness for Summer!
Drowning was definitely the biggest concern for parents and some families spoke openly about their home pools and fencing, with self-closing and self-latching pool gates. This was one reason to get their kids enrolled early to start water familiarisation. Drowning is still the leading cause of accidently death of children aged 5 and under according to Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2018. We all know how genius toddlers are at climbing, so our parents top tip was never leaving a deck chair, pot plant or outdoor table near the fence as a booster over the fence. Don’t give them a leg up and over!
Apart from Environmental concerns about contributing to landfill with disposable swim nappies, the next big concern was cost and how this added expense to the outlay when considering weekly swim lessons. With one Mum saying, “What a waste of money, when it’s only worn for 30 minutes and then thrown into the bin.” Our advice is simple, don’t spend your disposable income on disposable diapers!
We chatted and laughed about trying to reuse disposable swim diapers, but there are huge drawbacks, they get soaked with chlorine water, they smell strongly of chemicals when wet and take ages to dry! When eventually they do dry; they are bent out-of-shape, rough and tear. The disposables also lose their elasticity, making them ineffectual at containing solids. So Many real concerns here!!!
We also noted that some swim schools still insist on using disposable swimmers, even under a reusable swim nappy in case of leakage. We all agreed that most parents know if their baby is prone to the odd poop in the pool. I had a friend who’s little guy did a number 2 every time they got in the water, (even the bath had to be quick and timed - so not directly after a feed). Timing is everything, keep the snack till after the swim!
I understand that there are some pointless swim nappies out there, believe me after 3 children in swimming lessons we have tried them all! And when developing the Junior Champion Swim Nappy I researched and tore apart many an inferior product, some reminded me of a plastic shower cap and others were just pull on trunks with no hope of containing a little log. Most didn’t do the job they advertised they were made to!
One thing is for certain, Mums and Dads love to give their children the best start in life! They will buy beautiful shoes, toys and clothing - the best of the best! Parents will go out of their way to find the best activities and swimming schools for their little ones. It’s not only about the bonding, it’s pride in their kids achievements and learning vital life skills. From babies blowing bubbles to pre-schoolers swimming their first 5 meters. Watching them grow from Starfish to Dolphins. Swimming is the real deal!
Photo credit: Brisbane City Council [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]