Meet the water babies

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WATER babies are making a splash as they dip into swimming lessons for the first time.

The classes have been launched to give tots as young as a few days old the chance to learn the skill, make the most out of their natural affinity with water and encourage confidence and techniques which can see some as young as 30 months old swim on the surface for short distances.

Water Babies instructor, Clair Pardoe with parents and their babies, Diana Lutfy and AJ, Leah Newman and Scarlett, Michelle Whitup and Dylan and Claire Finn and Ava at the Quality Hotel in Boldon.

Water Babies instructor, Clair Pardoe with parents and their babies, Diana Lutfy and AJ, Leah Newman and Scarlett, Michelle Whitup and Dylan and Claire Finn and Ava at the Quality Hotel in Boldon.

Studies have shown children who take part in the lessons have improved sleeping and eating patterns.

The sessions also help parents learn how to keep their child safe in water and give both a work out.

The latest Water Babies club has been launched at The Quality Hotel in Boldon, with its new pool opened as part of a £3.5million relaunch after the business was hit by a fire in November 2010.

Warm pools are used by the group, which already runs the courses in Sunderland and Chester-le-Street.

The Boldon group is run by Claire Bolingbroke, who discovered Water Babies when she took her daughter Lily along when she was three months old and went on to train as a teacher, running classes in the North East since 2005.

She said: “Lily and I enjoyed the lessons so much together.

“It was such a great bonding experience and it made me so happy to see her splashing around in the water with such confidence.

“The best thing about the job is seeing the confidence and enjoyment of the children as they progress.

“The Quality Hotel is a fantastic pool running at 31 degrees. It is lovely and light and the perfect calm space for babies and toddlers to start their swimming journey.”

•If you would like more information, please call 01207 529244 or visit www.waterbabies.co.uk.

How swimming helps babies’ development

Babies will be able to swim underwater by around 30 months, then start to swim on the surface as their strength increases.

Swimming improves a baby’s balance, ability to reach and grab, co-ordination, strength, aerobic capacity and endurance, along with concentration and sense of independence.

Tots have natural reflexes that mean they instinctively hold their breath when submerged but lessons can teach them to control their breathing instead of relying on reflexes, reducing the risk of water inhalation and giving them a sense of being in control.

Giving children the chance to swim at a young age reduces the chances of them developing a fear of water.