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Early years

25th Sep 2023

Your questions about baby and toddler swimming answered

Water babies

Brought to you by Water Babies

From safety to what your child will learn, here is everything you need to know.

As parents, we know that there is nothing more important in the world than keeping our children safe, and when it comes to keeping them safe in the water, it’s vital that they learn how to swim.

When we think of swimming lessons, we may picture six-year-olds in arm-bands in the shallow end getting to grips with the basics. While swimming lessons are great at any age, did you know that your child can learn to swim as a baby?

That’s right, with Water Babies, babies and toddlers can learn to swim in a safe, nurturing environment alongside their parents and with a qualified instructor.

We understand that parents may have some queries about baby swimming, so we’ve teamed up with Water Babies to answer any questions you may have.

What are the benefits of baby swimming?

There are so many benefits to bringing your baby swimming from physical to cognitive, intellectual and social! Introducing your baby to the pool can do wonders for your little one.

As well as building your child’s strength and equipping them with vital water safety skills, baby swimming comes with plenty of physical, developmental and social benefits for your child. In their lessons, they can explore their balance, become more coordinated and they’ll strengthen their heart and lungs, as well as their arm, leg and heart muscles. In addition to these great physical benefits, baby swimming is also a brilliant way to increase your child’s confidence and enjoy some quality bonding time together.

Are Water Babies teachers fully qualified?

Yes, as water safety is at the heart of baby swimming, all Water Babies teachers go through an intense training programme and are qualified in pre-school swimming, which is recognised by Swim Ireland and Swim England. In addition to this rigorous training, Water Babies teachers are all qualified lifeguards and are trained in safe-guarding.

At what age can my baby start lessons?

Believe it or not, your baby can start swimming from birth. However, if your baby is premature, check with your doctor before starting lessons. If they’re deemed medically fit, they should be able to attend lessons once they’ve passed their due date.

Is it safe for my baby to go underwater?

Yes, it is safe for your baby to go underwater. Babies are born with a gag reflex that activates when they feel water on their face, nose or throat. When they’re underwater, the soft tissue at the back of their throat closes to block the entrance to the airway. Water Babies teachers use this natural reflex to prepare your child to go underwater through word association. As this reflex fades, your child will learn to control their breathing as it becomes a learned response. However, they will never submerge a baby that isn’t ready or prepared to go underwater.

What will my baby learn?

Throughout your child’s swimming journey, they’ll learn to keep themselves safe in the water, and by the end of it, they’ll be strong, confident, safety conscious swimmers.

How do lessons work?

Water Babies lessons are conducted with a maximum of 10 children with one carer per child and one teacher in the pool. The sessions are 30 minutes long and they’re tailored to your child’s ability.

What do I need to bring to Water Babies?

Bring comfortable swimwear and a towel for yourself, and for your baby, you’ll need a Happy Nappy, a reusable swim nappy (all babies must wear a double nappy system to lessons), a changing mat, a towel, a wetsuit and a warm hat.

How can I register my child for Water Babies?

For more information about finding lessons near you or to register your child, visit

Brought to you by Water Babies

So, what are you waiting for? Water Babies teach in swimming pools across Ireland click here find about classes in your local area and we’ll be in touch with all the details!