Baby/Toddler and Pre-School Swimmers

There are so many activities to choose from when you have a baby but very few offer the bonding and stimulating experience of swimming and have health benefits for both you and your baby.

What to expect

When can I bring my baby swimming?

You can bring your baby swimming from birth as long as his/her cord is healed, mothers coming into the water must have finished post birth bleeding before they can come in. As soon as you feel comfortable and ready come and enjoy the lovely warm water of the Hydro Pool. You no longer have to wait until they have had their immunisations, however any concerns should be discussed with your Health practicioner.


For babies aged 0-12 months lessons are held in the Hydro Pool, the pool is set at a temperature between 32-34 degrees which both parents and babies will find relaxing and therapeutic. At this age swimming with your baby is a wonderful bonding experience. Some parents particularly first time parents might feel a little nervous about taking their baby swimming for the first time, we will talk you through what to do including different holds, floating with your baby and even gentle dips under the water when you feel ready. We can also help you to understand certain natural reflexes your baby has and how these will evolve as they grow.


At this age they’re ready get moving a little more so we hold these sessions in the main pool of the centre. The lessons are very much about putting FUN into swimming with lots of games such as swimming through a rainbow tunnel, driving a car whilst balancing on their parents hand and playing jelly on a plate on the play raft. But we also start to incorporate life saving skills such as horizontal and vertical rotation, climbing out on the side independently, holding on to the side and hopefully even first steps to swimming independently by propelling themselves using their arms and legs.

Pre School

By continuing to use games and songs to build their water confidence we will also start to use swimming aids such as Swim Fins and floats to build on their arm and leg movements. We will also continue to progress their independent swimming technique, breath control, body position through push and glides and floating on their backs possibly without support.

Helpful hints on what to bring when swimming with your baby/toddler/child

  • Change mat (fold away ones are great)
  • A normal towel for yourself and a baby towel with a hood
  • Happy Nappy (or similar)! Can’t swim without one
  • A disposable swim nappy (please don’t use a normal nappy they get very big and heavy)
  • Plastic bag for wet clothes
  • Toys to keep your little one amused while you get changed
  • A car seat for baby to sit in while you get changed
  • A hat if it’s cold
  • Milk
  • Snacks (hopefully they will build up an appetite)
  • Baby warmer or snug if needed

Handy Tips

  • If swimming with your baby/toddler for the first time practise putting their Happy Nappy on as they can be fiddly
  • Remove all valuables and jewellery which could scratch your child
  • Arrive in plenty of time about 15 minutes before the start is usually ok
  • Put your change mat at the top of your bag ready so you aren’t struggling to find it while holding your baby
  • Take a towel on the pool side for you and your baby
  • Flip flops if using the Hydro Pool as there is a short walk from the changing rooms
  • Perhaps put your own swim suite on under your clothes this will make changing easier
  • Baby grows are a good idea to put your baby in after swimming as they are easy to put on and take off
  • When finished swimming wrap your baby nice and warm in a towel and then dry yourself off so you don’t drip water over your baby
  • Stay relaxed and calm, babies can feel if you are tense


Q: When can I start to take my baby swimming?

A: You can now take your baby swimming once their cord is healed and mum and baby have had their 6 week check, between 6-10 weeks is a nice time to start. You no longer have to wait until your baby has had their immunisations any concerns should be discussed with your GP, Health Visitor or by visiting the NHS website.

Q: What does my baby/toddler/child need to wear?

A: To avoid any accidents all children until potty trained must wear a double nappy system, by this we mean a disposable nappy such as Huggies and then a Happy Nappy or similar over the top, Splash About, JoJo Maman and Konfidence all do Happy Nappies or similar. This is very important as you can not swim without this double nappy system. A baby warmer wet suit and a swim nappy does will not be enough. 

Q: When do I feed my baby/toddler/child?

A: For bottle/breastfed babies anytime before/after and during their lesson. For babies/children on solid food we recommend they eat 1 hour prior to their lesson

Q: Can I bring Pushchair/Car Seat?

A: Please can we ask that no pushchairs are brought into the centre due to the lack of space, you are welcome your baby in their car seat and leave in the changing rooms

Q: Can my child use arm bands?

A: Yes of course, we tend to use long woggles and short woggles, but not all children like woggles, we have some arm discs which your child can use as they allow more arm movement than the blow up arm bands

Q: Is there car parking?

A: Yes there is a car park at the centre, please can we ask that you do use the car park and not the side road as tractors need to pass

Q: Are there lockers?

A: Yes there are lockers which are free of charge

Q: Can my Partner/Grandparents come?

A: Partners and Grandparents are very welcome to come along and sit on the side to watch, but we can only allow one adult per child in the pool

Q: If your child is ill?

If your little one is ill or has a contagious illness i.e. chickenpox, conjunctivitis or sickness/diarrhoea it is not advisable to come swimming.

Q: I’m not a confident swimmer, does that matter?

A: Not at all, in fact it may increase your own confidence in the water. Both the main pool and the Hydro pool are approximately chest height or lower.

Q: What if a class is postponed or cancelled?

A: We will do our best to keep all classes running, however, if for any reason we cannot run a class we will inform you as soon as possible via a note on our facebook page and also via email. We will endeavour to reschedule your class for the same day of the week at a near time to your current class. In this instance if we have been able to re-schedule for the same day of the week which you usually swim and within 2 hours of your normal class time and alternative classes are offered no refunds will be given.

In the event of us having to cancel a class we will issue a credit against your next term’s classes or credit you with the money via a cheque.

Q: What to expect on the day

A: Best to arrive in plenty of time to get yourself and your child ready, 15 minutes is a safe amount of timeThere’s lots of free parking at the centre

There’s lots of free parking at the centre

Make your way to the changing rooms there are lockers available for clothes

If you are in the Hydro pool bring along some flip flops as you briefly walk into the corridor

Please shower before leaving the changing rooms, deodorant and perfume could alter the PH of the water, if your child has any cream on them this could make them quite slippery in the water

Your instructor will welcome you and give a brief safely speech

Please let your instructor know of any medical issues

Please remove jewellery which could scratch your child

Please be careful when moving around the pool as surfaces can become slippery