The benefits of swimming the Turtle Tots way - and how and why our teaching differs to survival swimming

20 July 2017

There has been a great deal of chatter recently on social media, and across national news channels, about a new survival method, originating in The States, where babies are submerged and encouraged to flip onto their backs to prevent themselves from drowning, the technique is typically taught 10 minutes a day over a 6-week period.

This ‘survival swimming’ is based on conditioning (forcing) a baby or toddler to float in an unnecessarily aggressive way. It’s a traumatic method and is the polar opposite of our methodology.

We have come together with all the major UK bodies involved in baby swimming to speak out, and warn parents about the dangers of ‘survival’ methods being taught to young infants.

Unfortunately, the debate has highlighted some misunderstandings and concerns around the whole topic of baby swimming that we need to address.

What makes Turtle Tots different

Our baby swimming is a wonderful sensory activity. It provides progressive teaching of age appropriate lifesaving skills. We endorse a gentle, child-led philosophy which is the bedrock of our beliefs and our teaching practices, including the teaching of life saving and water safety skills.

Teaching your baby to swim should be an enjoyable bonding experience, within a safe, happy and child-focussed environment. We also believe that amazing babies deserve amazing teachers, and we have the most qualified baby and toddler swimming teachers in the world, train through the new STA Level 3 Diploma in Baby and Pre-School Aquatic Teaching.

With the increased focus on reading and understanding baby communication, your Turtle Tots teachers are now even more skilled at seeing when your baby is ready to progress. With our sensitive and responsive teaching, we always ensure that the pace is right for your little Turtle Tot. We teach in a safe environment, we do not rush or force any baby or parent into any activity they are not ready for.

Why take your baby swimming with us?

Our aim at Turtle Tots is to enable more parents and carers to have the confidence to get into the water earlier with their babies as there are so many physiological, social and emotional benefits to doing so, as well as important safety reasons why you should.

 1.     Babies have a natural affinity with the water, having of course been suspended in fluids in the womb for nine months. Babies are born with an innate predisposition to learn by watching those around them, by attempting to copy their actions, in particular of their parents and carers. So, exploring the underwater world together in a gentle, safe and supported way is how babies best learn to swim.

2.     Early swimming is the most incredible bonding experience for new parents with their precious new-borns and many of our customers tell us that their weekly swimming class is the high point of their week, helping to build strong bonds of trust, respect and communication from the early weeks and months of life. As well as this amazing bonding babies also begin to learn the important safety limits of what they are capable of within the water and where they need our help to stay safe, therefore developing a love for the water, whilst learning to respect its boundaries.

3.     The physiological benefits of baby swimming are vast; the buoyancy helps to strengthen muscles, development of muscular symmetry and improved joint mobility. Whilst in terms of the cardiovascular system; there is increased lung function, stamina and better eating and sleeping habits. Neurologically, baby swimming aids early co-ordination, heightened sensory awareness and encourages babies and toddlers to be more alert.

4.     Swimming is a great form of exercise, and one of the few that the whole family can enjoy together when babies are very little – by building exercise into your family routine right from the start you are helping your little one to develop healthy habits for life. Swimming is the best possible form of exercise for young babies as the buoyancy that the water gives them allows them to use and strengthen muscles in a way that isn’t possible ‘on land’. As well as developing muscle strength and co-ordination and helping to develop their cardio-vascular function, swimming also helps with early brain development.

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