Partners in the pool

Where possible Little Turtle Swim Company encourages both parents to come in the water with their child on at least one session per course.
This allows both of you to experience handling your child in the water & gives you an opportunity to experience some of the moves/activities first hand so that you can swim as a family recreationally.
Depending on your particular group it may be possible to have your partner in the pool frequently or on a rotational system with the other parents

Do I need to be able to swim?

In a word, No. Courses are designed to build the confidence of both child & parent & all moves can be done with both feet firmly on the pool floor if this is your wish.
Our techniques will allow you to relax your body in the water; this calmness is passed to your child which facilitate confidence & enjoyment…for both of you.

Special Needs

Little Turtle Swim Company welcomes anyone with a special need; in most cases children with additional needs can join in with the scheduled group lessons.
Water is amazing at breaking down barriers and children have swum in group lessons with Little Turtles who have physical issues, mental disorders and illnesses and other with behavioural problems. The classes provide structured time in the water that can allow the child and carer to take time out of a normally full-on day. For some children the time spent in the water is an opportunity to exercise a body that is broken on dry land but once in the pool they have the freedom to move and experience new sensations.

Zara has an STA Special Needs qualification – please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss anything in further detail.

What if my child or I have a known medical condition?

Upon registration you will be required to complete an enrolment form that you will need to disclose any known medical condition for your child or their adult swim companion.
Your teacher needs to know if there is a change in status of this medical condition while enrolled on a LTSC course.
If your child has a medical condition, please consult with a doctor before commencing a swim session/course.

Illness during a course

Do not take your child swimming if they have an infectious condition – including diarrhoea, sickness & a heavy cold.
It is important to wait two days after the first solid movement of poo before going swimming if your baby has suffered from an upset tummy.

Babies with ear infections should not swim – the movement created by tipping and swirling a baby in the water can hurt their ears and head as well as spreading infection in the pool.

Always check with a medical/health practitioner if you require further information on an illness or condition as Little Turtle Swim Company are not qualified to offer advice in this department.
Please let your teacher know if there is any change in the status of medical condition for your child; whether it is a previously disclosed or new illness.

Where possible Little Turtle will try to re-arrange a missed class – the ability to do this is dependent on your flexibility / availability to do another day and the space being available on a class that fits in with you. Classes cannot be carried over to another term but most people are able to make sessions up by doing 2 classes in 1 week.

When should I feed my baby?

Babies use a lot of energy while in the water so it is important that they are fed prior to a class.
If you have a routine that sees more than 1 hour lapse between feeding and the start of the class, we suggest an additional feed about 30 – 40 minutes before the session. This should see your baby through the class with enough in their belly.

If your baby is hungry during the class it is a good idea to feed them – a hungry baby doesn’t have a concept of ‘wait 10 minutes’ so a bottle on poolside is a good idea to start with until you know your baby’s routine in the water. If you are breastfeeding you can either bring a bottle of expressed milk or you may breast feed in the water – the choice is totally up to you.

Most babies will need a feed within an hour of finishing the class – 30 minutes is a long time in a baby’s life, they probably do not do a lot of other activities that run continuously for half an hour (including sleeping) so the pool session will pull on their energy levels and resources.

What should my child wear for their swim session?

Many public & private pools now require babies to wear 2 layers of swim nappies while using their facilities. We also follow this rule at Little Turtle Swim Company.

The double layer consists of an inner swim nappy (the absorbent layer) & an outer layer (the containment layer) which is either a swim nappy that has a good seal around the leg & waist or a wetsuit that incorporates the nappy design.

Layer 1: Inner Nappy
You can use disposable swim nappies (Huggies Little Swimmers) but our recommendation would be to purchase a reusable/washable inner layer as this could save you money in the long term & it is kinder on the environment. The swim nappy we have available is from Konfidence ‘one size fits all’ & should last your child for a considerable time.

Layer 2: Outer Nappy
This should fit snugly & create a seal around the leg & waist so no leakages occur. Konfidence (Nappicovas) & Splash About (Happy Nappy) are two companies that have suitable outer nappy ranges – Little Turtle stock the Splash About Happy Nappy.

Layer 2: Baby Snug Wetsuit
This product is from Splash About & is a mini-wetsuit that covers the torso, has long sleeves & incorporates that Happy Nappy ~ this means that it constitutes as the second nappy layer as it seals around the leg & waist.

Please note that if a wetsuit is worn that does not create a seal around the legs (a wrap / surf or UV suit) this does not constitute as the second layer & therefore the inner & outer protective layer must be worn underneath the wetsuit.

Outer Layer: Wrap Wetsuit
There are many ‘wrap’ design wetsuits on the market. Generally they open completely flat so is very easy to put on and take off your baby. They are usually made from soft pliable neoprene (the material used for Wetsuits) & styled to wrap around and insulate the body.
As the wrap does not create a seal around the leg it CANNOT be used as the second nappy layer; the wrap is worn over the inner & outer swim nappies.

Outer Layer: Surf Style Wetsuit
These wetsuits are an all-in-one piece that are made of neoprene, cover the shoulders & zip up the front. We stock the ‘Two Bare Feet’ range.
As the surf style wetsuit does not create a seal around the leg it CANNOT be used as the second nappy layer; it should be worn over the inner & outer swim nappies.

Images, costs & product descriptions can be found on the ‘shop’ page ~ an order form is available to download as well should you wish to purchase anything from Little Turtle

Is there anything I can do prior to starting a swim course?

There are lots of things you can do prior to attending a swim class:

For young babies you can fill a warm bath up and get in with them. Start with them resting completely against your body and use one of your hands to gently lap the water over them – avoiding the nose and mouth. Once they are comfortable with this, ease them away from you with 1 hand supporting their head (support rather than holding their head out of the water) and the other hand under their bottom. You can use smooth movements to glide them through the water. Think of your hands as a cushion for your baby to lie on rather than you holding them up – this will make it more comfortable for both of you.

Progression from here could be with you out of the bath so your baby has more room to be glided in the water – if your baby feels buoyant and relaxed you may take the hand away from under their bottom. The hand under the head should remain relaxed, no upward pressure should be exerted on the head and do not hold baby’s head out of the water.

A lot of people ask about getting a baby’s head wet – use your hand to stroke water over your baby’s head. Fingers are very sensitive and your baby will know your tender touch so this should be a calm and pleasant experience. You can make this a part of the bathing routine to allow your baby to get used to the feeling of water passing over their face. Caution should be exercised with ‘pouring’ water over a young baby – would you like it if someone dumped a load of water over your head when you were not expecting it. Think gentle, think calm, think slowly, slowly.

For older children you can get them to splash their hands / kick their feet / blow bubbles – general water play is great to get them feeling comfortable in water.
If they are cautious about getting their face wet or washing their hair, use role play – get a doll in the bath and ask your child to wash the dolly’s hair; ask then about what they are doing and what the next step is. Ask them to help you wash their hair “what do I do first”, “oh no, I’ve forgotten what I do now”…it helps to take away the stress surrounding the anticipation of the activity.

If you have any specific worries or concerns, please contact us and we will have a chat with you.

Can babies swim prior to their immunisations?

Yes, babies can be taken swimming at any age. Some swimming pools still suggest wrongly that children should not go swimming until they have had some or all of their immunisations.
This is a hangover from when polio was common and people were worried about its spread in swimming pools, which were places where large numbers of young people got together during the summer months. However, you should ensure you take care to dispose of soiled nappies and observe good hygiene as in any other public place.

Quoted directly from http://www.immunisation.nhs.u

When can my baby start swimming?

The medical pre-requisite is that the baby’s belly button should be completely healed before they enter a pool.
We ask that Baby and Mum (if it is mum swimming) have had their 6 week check-up prior to starting a course.
Babies no longer need their immunisations before they swim – this was a hangover from when Polio was an issue in the UK but some people are still told to wait; information on immunisations can be found on the government NHS website.

We see most young babies start around 8 – 12 weeks. Babies are starting to become aware of their surroundings and have greater head and neck control which makes some parents less anxious with them in the water.

Younger babies are advised to wear wetsuits to allow their core body temperature to be maintained – there are many on the market that are fairly thick (1.2 – 1.7mm) and some even have a fleece liner to keep baby really snuggerly warm.

Why is swimming good for babies and children?

The answer to this can be looked at from two angles. The first is the holistic and developmental benefits that come from time in the water, and the second is the life skill that contributes to safety in and around water.

Some Holistic and Development Benefits:
Water supports the body’s weight; therefore babies are able to move their limbs freely in the pool a long time before they can crawl and walk on their own.
This gives an early feeling of freedom and independence; it allows us to work their reflexes, muscles and stimulate their minds in ways we may not be able to do on dry land. Parents get valuable one to one time with their child; a lovely way in which to bond, free from the distractions that surround us daily.

The sensory stimulation achieved in water goes beyond sight, touch and sound; young babies are able to take part in exercises that engage the vestibular system, which detects motion, gravity and provides us with a sense of balance – often long before they would do so out of the pool.

Professor Hermundur Sigmundsson published a study conducted into baby swimming which concluded:

“It’s incredibly exciting that specific training for young babies has an effect later in life. Development is a dynamic interplay between maturation, growth, experience and learning. Our study shows that we must never underestimate the learning aspect,”

An overview of the findings can be read at:

A Life Skill:
With regards to Health & Safety there were 435 drowning accidents in 2005 of which 39 were children under the age of 14 years. “Almost 40% of children that drowned were in the water swimming or playing; another 40% fell in or were swept away. These children were either unaware of the risk of being in or near the water, or did not have the skills to save themselves.”

A third of child accidental drowning fatalities occur in or near the home, in garden ponds or other areas of gathered water in the back garden, and in the bath. These are predominantly children aged between 0-6. In a typical scenario the young child escapes supervision or the adult leaves them on their own just for a moment. Young children must be constantly supervised, and adults should make themselves aware of the risks of the water, taking steps to reduce or eliminate them

Quoted directly from:

With these statistics in mind it is important to introduce water safety to children as soon as possible ~ this is incorporated into Little Turtle Swim Company classes in a fun way that builds their confidence while gaining a healthy respect for water without fearing it.