The baby’s first contact with water should be special for him and his parents with a lifeguard course. They are the only ones who can give him the security and confidence that he needs to adapt to a new environment that, on the other hand, is familiar to him. Cruz Lobo Sanz, instructor of Education and Children’s Aquatic Activity at the Baby Swim pool, reveals to us in this interview the secrets of a good adaptation of the baby to the aquatic environment.
Baby’s first time in the water
How should the baby’s first contact with water take place?
The first contact with water must be through play because babies do not yet understand what we are going to do. We can’t tell a baby to go to work because everything in her life is played. With the intervention of the father or mother, teaching them is easier.
It is very important that the parents get into the pool with them because the babies do not know you at the beginning and you have to have the support of the parents. In addition, it is convenient to teach parents so that when they go to the beach or the pool they can continue practicing diving, jumping… and often avoid sudden movements that are not recommended for children of this age. In the water, everything must be smooth and calm, with a lot of relaxation, tranquility, patience and security in the parents.
What is the best way to get the child into the water, wetting him little by little or plunging him in all at once?
When we start, we pick them up, hug them gently, with their mother by their side and introduce them little by little, pouring water on them. If the child does not cry, we put the material directly on him, and if he cries that day we act in another way, we do not put material on him, we are going to play and let him become familiar, without hurry. The risk we run is that the child begins to be afraid of water the first day. For this reason, contact with water should be done little by little, with pampering, sweet words, and games.
Do babies older than one year have an advantage when it comes to becoming familiar with the water?
We put the same material on them, although their progress is faster because they are older since they know how to walk and move their arms. A 5-month -old baby, apart from the fact that he always acquires the fetal position with his legs on his chest, will have a harder time stretching. On the other hand, 17-month – olds already know how to walk and their progress is faster. However, it always depends a lot on the child and the parents.
What do we have to do to gain the trust of babies?
For parents to trust you, it is important that they see that you are prepared. The main thing is that the child is calm. It is normal that, at first, they cry because everything is new, the material, the water, the monitor, even, sometimes, there is a lot of noise.
Babies in the water. Necessary material
The safety of babies and children in the pool is a matter of concern for parents. Learning to defend oneself in the water is one of the teachings that begins to be carried out every time at an earlier age, not only because of the benefits that swimming has for the baby, but also to avoid unnecessary dangers and, for this, the monitors help each other. made of a material composed mainly of cork with the American Lifeguard Association.
Cruz Lobo, the swimming instructor, explains to us what are the most suitable swimming materials that children should use until they can defend themselves autonomously in the water.
Materials not recommended for babies to learn to swim
“We do not work with sleeves or floats because we have seen that they are not suitable,” explains Cruz Lobo. The cuffs prevent the arms from moving easily and keep the baby balanced, but nothing more, just like the float.
The baby will remain at a dead point, moving his legs, but by the time we remove the cuffs, he will not know what to do with his arms. For this reason, although at first, it might seem that the sleeves are good to maintain better balance, it will prevent them from moving their arms well in a correct posture.
With the floats of a lifetime, babies turn around, if we are not attentive they can turn and be face down without being able to turn around again by themselves to get afloat.
Recommended materials for learning to swim
Experts recommend these materials for babies and children just starting out in swimming:
1. Corkboard. In a more personalized way, a baby of about five months can start with a corkboard, which has a very large base and an adjustable hole where we put the child. With the table, the baby will acquire balance. ‘We must keep the baby on the table, letting go and grabbing him little by little, or giving him a little hand,’ explains Cruz Lobo.
2. Churro. The next step is the churro with its connector, where the child would go inside with the connector centered in the front. With this material, it is more difficult to maintain balance than with the table because it has less base. Here balance and flotation begin to work, while we hold and release little by little until the child acquires autonomy.
3. Whole belt. The entire belt is used at first with two boards or two corks. With this material, it is more difficult for them to maintain their balance. With each step, we always add more difficulty and babies have to work harder to stay and move. Learning must be done with great patience and without haste.
4. Cork belt. Later we use a cork belt that we put on the back. Normally, three corks are placed in the back and two in front, and as it progresses, we remove little boards.
5. Corks in the swimsuit. The easiest step is to place the corks in the swimsuit and gradually remove them. We continue in a vertical position, only when they carry two or three boards is when the child begins to go more horizontally.
Recommendations for going to the pool with the baby
If the material has already been lowered, we should never upload it, but if it goes to the beach or to a pool in other conditions, where the water is colder or more choppy, we can put some more boards because it will cost them more to move at first.
When they are a little older, the free churro is recommended, a material compatible with any of the above, which offers them freedom and helps them to go a little more inclined.
A baby should not spend more than half an hour in a stimulation class in the water because they get tired. ‘We recommend 20 classes per month distributed according to the parents’ availability, but we always advise them that the more often the classes are, the better,’ explains Cruz Lobo.
According to the monitor, the best time to go to the pool with the baby is in the morning, since in the afternoon the children are more tired and may perform less well.