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12 Day Old Portland Baby Takes To The Water

Baby Swim Wilfred Hallett

11:18am 25th September 2014

With a giggle and a gurgle, tiny tot Wilfred Hallett was just twelve days old when he took the plunge today and became the youngest ever baby in Dorset to start swimming with Water Babies.

The multi-award winning swimming classes are designed to make the most of babies' natural affinity with water, teaching confidence and safety using expert techniques.

Catherine Hansford and Chris Hallett, Wilfred's parents from Southwell on Portland, booked Wilfred's lessons when he was just four days old.

Dad Chris Hallett took Wilfred on his first swim at Wyvern School and said: "It was really good and Wlfred reacted much better than expected. I wasn't expecting him to go underwater. As a parent yes I found it nerve wracking but seeing the other babies do it put my mind at rest.

"We just want him to learn life saving skills from as soon as he can."

Most of our little splashers start classes with us at around six weeks old," says Wilfred's swimming teacher Lisa Pettitt.

"So 12 days does make Wilfred our youngest ever swimmer in Dorset. Children as young as just two days old have enjoyed our lessons nationally which goes to show it's never too early to get started. Babies love being in the water and they show it with giggles and gurgles galore! Having spent nine comfy months relaxing in the womb, it's no surprise it comes naturally to them."

Lisa continues: "It was really good to see Wilfred swim today, I think the younger the are the more beneficial it is.

"Swimming with your baby is a magical experience for both parent and child, allowing you some special one on one time to focus on each other in the relaxed environment that water provides. In addition to bonding benefits, studies have shown that participating babies have improved sleeping and eating patterns, thanks to the hidden physical workout received during the gentle class."
While Water Babies lessons are fun for both parent and little one, the course also has an extremely serious added benefit.
"Worryingly, research we commissioned this year revealed that 75% of parents are unaware drowning is the third highest cause of accidental death in children in the UK", Lisa explains.  

"In most cases it's the shock of sudden submersion that causes children to panic. We passionately believe that by introducing babies to water as early as possible, they'll be less likely to experience fear if they do fall in. Our research also showed that the average age children start swimming lessons is four, despite that fact they can start from birth. In fact, we've had pupils as young as just two days old."

"With progressive training, babies can be taught life saving skills very early on such as turning onto their backs or, following a sudden submersion, swimming to the nearest solid object.  In the last few years at least ten tiny Water Babies pupils have saved their own lives, five of whom were just two years old at the time. It's fantastic what vital skills children can learn, and it's so important that they do so as soon as possible."         

Water Babies classes are available in Weymouth. For more information, please phone Jo Tolley and her friendly team on 01258 458 520, email visit

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