The Harry Wright International Infant Aquatic Programme begins with our unique Parent and Infant lessons developed over many years from the philosophy of the late Captain Harry Wright and developed and refined by his daughter, Jayne Wright. These lessons focus on teaching parents how to submerge and release their babies safely and happily and how to introduce the basics of kick and pull.
At what age can my baby start?
It is never too soon to introduce your baby to the water. Harry Wright International Infant Aquatics Program caters for children aged 4 months to 4 years and there are many benefits for introducing your child to the water if parents adopt a gentle and sensible approach.
An early introduction to water:
- All babies are born with a natural reflex action and early introduction to water stimulates these reflex actions. Most reflex actions disappear from babies from 6-9 months.
- Early introduction encourages the natural development of voluntary arm and leg movements
- Is a sure way to avoid fear of water, older children may avoid swimming because of this fear which may be difficult to overcome.
What about immunisation and health?
The health of your baby is a major concern to us and fellow swimmers, below is a general guide for parents to follow when swimming with their baby:
- Parents should follow the guidelines set out by the HKSAR Department of health and we recommend babies not to swim on the day of any further immunisation shots and booster shotsProgramme of Immunisation according to the HKSAR Department of Health
New Born: B.C.G. Vaccination; Polio Type 1; Hepatitis B Vaccine (first dose) One Month: Hepatitis B Vaccine (second dose) 2-4 Months: DPT Vaccine (First dose); Polio Trivalent (First Dose) 3-5 Months: DPT Vaccine (Second dose); Hepatitis B Vaccine (third dose) 4-6 Months: DPT Vaccine (Third dose); Polio Trivalent (Second Dose) 12 Months: MMR Vaccine (First dose) 18 Months: DPT Vaccine (Booster dose); Polio Trivalent (Booster Dose)
- Babies with general infections i.e. running noses, cough, slight fever should avoid swimming until they recover.
How soon will my baby learn to swim?
The emphasis on our classes is to introduce your child to the water environment through activities which ensure your child enjoys the water, feels relaxed and comfortable. We teach parents how to safely submerge and release your child and encourage voluntary arm and leg movement that allows your child to explore the water environment.
Will my baby be submerged?
When your child is physically and emotionally ready they will be introduced to submersions. We submerge babies in a systematic and controlled way which reduces risk and anxiety. Only after a child displays signs of readiness will your child be submerged in a controlled way. The number, depth and length of these submersions are strictly controlled.
How long will lessons last?
This depends on the facility in which you are being taught. Lessons in indoor heated pools last 45 minutes, while lessons in outdoor pools last 30 minutes.
Do parents get into the pool with their baby?
Absolutely! It is essential that you, as their primary caregiver need to be in the water. Babies look to their parent for comfort, they require your physical support during the activities, they often imitate parents and require your constant encouragement and praise. Finally swimming lessons should be seen as an opportunity for you to bond with your baby. This time should be seen as a special time for baby and parent.
How should I prepare my baby at home?
The best way to introduce your baby to water is the family bath at a time which best suits you and your baby. When you first start ‘bath time’ you may need the help of another adult to assist you while you practise holding your baby in the water. The water temperature should not be too hot, around 32-34 degrees is sufficient. Also make sure the air temperature is relatively warm.
Parent reclines in the bath with your knees up. Place your baby on your thighs facing you. There body should be resting on your legs. Talk to them, smile with them, laugh with them, splash their belly and introduce toys with them. Your baby should enjoy the experience of being in the water with you.
Parent reclines in the bath with knees up. Place the baby on their back on the centre of your chest, support your baby with your arms to ensure they do not roll over. Talk to them, smile with them, laugh with them, splash their belly and introduce toys with them. As your child becomes more confident you may recline further, support your baby with both arms and float them in the water with their ears submerged. Some babies may not like this position as they lose eye contact with their parent and water on their ears may be uncomfortable. If this is the case go back to activity 1 until the child displays they are ready to try this activity, remember slowly, slowly wins the race.
With patience and repetition your babies confidence will grow as will yours. If your child cries when trying any of the activities remove them from the water and try again in a couple of days.
Remember, never leave an infant alone in the bath under any circumstances and never ask an older sibling to look after a baby in the bath. Be very careful; of hot water taps while handling your baby.
What should I bring to lessons?
The biggest concern is that baby doesn’t pollute the pool. To minimize the risk of this, we advise the following:
- Do not feed your baby for at least one hour before swimming
- Ensure your baby is wearing a nappy designed specifically for swimming to prevent little accidents from happening.
Splash About Nappy System
We recommend is a double layer system from “Splash About”, containing;
1. Nappy Liner
2. Nappy Wrap
3. Happy NappyThis system consists of a re-usable soft cotton wrap and biodegradable liner which Harry Wright International advocates to help reduce waste.In addition, during the cooler months, we recommend the wrap around wet suit to keep your baby warm. All items are available to purchase on the following link:
- Prepare your infant at the pool. Your baby may have an incident on the way to lessons so remember to always dress your infant at the facility and not at home.
Is there anything else I should know?
Bring plenty of towels, have a drink and snack ready as they will be hungry and need to replenish their energy.
Remember to remove watches, bracelets, earrings and necklaces, this will avoid you scratching your baby
Always ensure your baby’s mouth and face are held above water
And lastly do what you normally do at home, relax, smile, praise your baby and have fun.