Q&A WITH PUDDLE DUCKS WEST HERTS
I decided when Little B was very young that I wanted him to be able to swim which is something I still can’t do. I contacted numerous companies and after a month of searching & getting no replies, I finally found Puddle Ducks.
Ravneet from my local Puddle Ducks contacted me within hours of my email, I instantly knew the minute I heard her phone manner & sense of humour that Puddle Ducks would be the swimming company I would go with. We discussed any issues I had & we also had a good giggle over our old email addresses, my email address is a story never to be told!
I booked B in there & then & we started our lessons at the upcoming term. Rav made me feel exceptionally comfortable about the lessons & I was super excited to get B swimming.
Lessons were well structured & you could tell Rav was trained & knew what she was doing. The lessons were a perfect length & were always enjoyable. B had his off days & Rav made sure that in those situations the activities were slightly altered for him to keep him happy, well…. as happy as possible. The pool we used was always clean & welcoming & unlike other places pretty private!
We stayed with Puddle Ducks for two terms & only stopped due to B screaming throughout every single lesson. It was difficult for me & I felt it unfair on him to keep going to something he was struggling with. He was under one when he was swimming with Puddle Ducks originally but I do plan to send him back in the near future when I can get him used to the water again.
WE MISS PUDDLE DUCKS & especially Rav’s duck glove!
QUESTION & ANSWER TIME!
These questions were sent to me & I got the lovely Ravneet from Puddle Ducks West Hertfordshire to answer.
What age can I take my baby swimming?
The youngest baby I’ve taught was 9 days old. There is no minimum age, despite popular opinion babies do not need to have had their immunisations to be able to swim. According to NHS guidelines, you can take your baby swimming at any age, both before and after they have been vaccinated. It doesn’t matter if they haven’t yet finished their course of vaccinations.
Some leisure facilities may suggest that babies shouldn’t go swimming till they have had all their jabs. This advice, however, probably dates back to when polio was common and people were concerned it could spread in busy places, such as public swimming pools.
There has been no cases of natural polio infection in the UK in over 20 years (The last case was 1984).
Do they dunk them under the water & make you let go of them?
We do not submerge children in their first class, we teach parents a submersion signal which they practice in the bath. When they come to their first class we start with some gentle dips under the water. We are strict on our submersion policy in that if we give a signal and the child starts to cry, they clearly do not want to go under so we do not force them. As they become more confident we do start to let go of them under water as we want to encourage them to kick and resurface, this is not only great for their confidence, it is also a personal survival skill.
Is a normal swimsuit ok or should I use an all over costume for warmth?
This very much depends on the pool and your child. If you are in a hydrotherapy pool (around 33 degrees) then all a baby/child would need is a disposable(or reusable) swim nappy and an aquanappy/happy nappy. If you are in a cooler pool then there are options of putting thermals and body warmers on top of the double nappy. Not all babies and children feel the cold the same, so they should be treated as an individual.
How to you introduce a reluctant baby to water?
With lots of songs, toys and distractions through fun activities. I would also advise parents to persevere as there is always that light bulb moment when an unhappy baby suddenly starts to love their classes.
How many sessions should we attend to create a confident water baby?
There is no time limit, it comes back to each individual baby.
Are floats a good idea?
Floats have their place, if you are on holiday they can be useful from time to time. I would advise that regular use is not ideal as it can create a false sense of security and can panic a child when they need to swim without their floats. Woggles are a useful support in the water as babies and children have to support themselves on them and can still practise all the fundamental aspects of swimming.
Are specialist lessons worth the money?
We focus on everything from the logistics of swimming, personal survival skills and all the while we make the lessons fun. We offer catch up classes for missed classes and swim in PJs once a term so that children can feel the change in buoyancy if they should ever fall into the water fully clothed. Teachers go through months of training to be able to progress each child individually, every lesson has a different plan so babies & children are continuously stimulated.