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Meet the water babies
Baby Daisy Pickles swims underwater at a Water Babies class at the pool in Strensall. Pictures: Ian Goddard
MEET water baby Daisy Pickles – just one of out 320 tinies across York and North Yorkshire who take the plunge each week for a spot of underwater swimming.
She is a member of a Water Babies swim school run by Stella Riley, who says babies up to a year old have a natural affinity with water and naturally hold their breath while under the surface. And she said with progressive training, babies could be taught lifesaving skills such as turning on to their backs or swimming to the nearest solid object.
“Our lessons have a clear emphasis on having fun and are generally very sociable occasions as well as being an excellent way of strengthening the bond between baby and carer,” she said.
“Swimming is excellent for babies’ physical and mental development, while also enhancing their awareness and improving eating and sleeping patterns.”
She stressed the babies wore special double nappies to ensure there were no accidents in the water.
Stella said business had been booming since she took over the North and East Yorkshire Water Babies franchise a year ago, despite the recession.
“I now employ four teachers and an office administrator and we now teach 320 babies each week. We have opened classes in new pools in York and Harrogate giving us a total of 13 pool locations in North Yorkshire.”
Nikki Denton, who teaches 150 babies at three pools in York each week, said she trained as a teacher after having taken her daughter, Darcy, to Water Babies lessons since she was eight weeks old.
“My husband is not a strong swimmer so it was really important to us that Darcy became confident in the water,” she said. “She took to it straight away.
“The delight on both mum and babies’ faces when they learn a new skill is priceless.”
For more information, phone 01904 607110 or go to www.waterbabies.co.uk