Beginning swimming lessons with your little one can be so exciting, but you might be wondering what you need to prepare for your very first baby swim class! We've asked local swim Coach Alison Tam to share her tips and preparation list for swim classes both indoor and outdoor. Alison is an amazing swim Coach based in Kennedy Town who has taught our little ones as well, and you know we love supporting local businesses, so here's the link to her team's amazing swim classes, available for babies to adults!
It’s exciting having just signed your baby up for swimming lessons for the first time. It’s a great way to bond with your baby and to best prepare them to be comfortable in the water. The number one question I get asked is “What do we need for the lesson?” Here is my guide to help you prepare for the occasion.
Before that, please note that I do advise infants to have had their 4 month immunisations (as per the Hong Kong Government schedule). As much as we don’t want to think about it, all pools have germs!
What to bring?
Swim Diaper - diapers should fit well around the waist and legs to prevent any leakages. Any faeces leakage into the pool means that the whole pool will have to shut for cleaning so please be considerate to fellow swimmers!
Whilst disposable diapers are always handy, for many reason we do prefer reusable ones. Aside from being more gentle on the environment, reusable diapers keep their shape better by hugging baby in all the right places - namely, legs and waist - to prevent leaking.
Being exposed to a lot of swim diapers I have found AppleCheeks to provide a superior fit.
Baby Wetsuit / Baby Wrap- for any indoor swimming and during winter months - unless your pool is heated to 30C or above!
A baby wrap is made of neoprene and is mainly to keep the essential core of the child warm. A baby wetsuit is a fleece lined long sleeved and legged outfit to keep your baby warm and snug all over. These materials retain heat and are NOT the same as rash guards or your usual swimsuit material!
The public pools in Hong Kong are heated during winter months (usually mid-October till Easter), but not very much. The smaller training pool where our baby lessons are conducted is heated to 26C - this is not warm at all. In summer, the indoor pool is not heated at all so water can be very cool and young children will feel cold. So please wrap your child up! Warm swimmers are happy swimmers.
Long Sleeved Rash Guard - for any outdoor swimming. This is to protect your child’s delicate skin from the sun’s rays and not to keep them warm! I recommend this rather than applying sunscreen to lessen chemical absorption into the skin and you never know where the sunscreen has been washed off, leaving the skin exposed.
Sun Hat - for sunny days. Let’s keep their delicate scalps protected from the raging sun. During lessons, especially if your child is submerging or we are practicing water pouring we do take the hat off . This isn’t a problem for short periods of time.
For the adults:
Flip Flops - more of a personal one - I really don’t like walking barefoot around the pool area and changing rooms, lots of people, lots of germs. Some people don’t mind though. If you do bring flip flops please make sure these are for pool use only to preserve everyone’s hygiene.
$5 Coin - for the lockers! There is nothing more annoying than getting all the way to the changing rooms to find that you don’t have a $5 coin for the locker. The coin is refunded when you open the locker.
Thermal jacket - for indoor or winter swimming. To make it more pleasant for you during the lesson.
Additional top tips:
Do not get in the pool before you have met your teacher or before the lesson starts- young children get cold and/or tired very easily.
If your baby starts to shiver or lips turn blue then immediately get him/her out of the pool and take to a warm shower.
Do not take your baby swimming if your baby is running a fever or has any contagious conditions.
You can book to join Alisons swim class online here: https://www.alisontamswimming.com/babytoddler
Hope this helps! If you have any questions or recommendations for us please leave us a message in the comments below!