Health risks make up over half of parentsâ€™ concerns about taking babies swimming in public pools, according to survey findings.
Fear that the baby might pick up a bug was voiced by a quarter of respondents (25.5%), while a further 22.7% were worried that chlorine would irritate the infantâ€™s skin.
|The baby might pick up a bug||25.5%|
|Chlorine may irritate the babyâ€™s skin||22.7%|
|Having a nappy accident in the pool||19.9%|
|The baby will be too cold||18.8%|
|The baby wonâ€™t like the water||10.1%|
|I donâ€™t have a baby||0.8%|
|Having or being subject to another childâ€™s nappy accident||0.2%|
Having to deal with a nappy accident in the pool was the third biggest concern, with a fifth of parentsâ€™ votes, while others were put off by the prospect that their baby would be too cold (18.8%) or wouldnâ€™t like the water (10.1%).
The findings come despite evidence documenting the benefits of introducing children to swimming at an early age.
These include promoting parent-baby bonding, building infantsâ€™ coordination and motor skills and enhancing their wellbeing.
And further research has found that early years swimming could even improve childrenâ€™s capacity to learn mathematics.
But the use of the internet â€” and particularly searching around health concerns â€” could be exacerbating peopleâ€™s anxieties, studies suggest.
Bernadette Spofforth, managing director at Splash About, which conducted the survey, said: â€œHaving concerns about taking your baby swimming in a public pool is perfectly understandable, but the benefits to childrenâ€™s development are well documented.
â€œAnd the health concerns reflected by our research can be easily allayed: public pools are not the scary, germ-ridden places theyâ€™re sometimes feared to be. Health and safety standards are at their highest, and this extends to what babies wear in the water.â€
The introduction of specialist swim nappies in lessons 15 years ago created a safer swimming environment for all pool users.
And since 2016, when it became industry best practice for babies to wear a neoprene over-nappy in all lessons, over 90% of swim schools have mandated this standard. This product prevents solids from leaking into pools and therefore helps to mitigate the risk of ill-health through stomach bugs, both for babies and other swimmers.
Bernadette added: â€œAdvances in baby swimwear are such that babiesâ€™ delicate skin is protected and they are kept warm in the water, which greatly enhances the enjoyment of vital early years swimming experiences for both parent and child.â€
The data was gathered in April 2018 via an online survey of 1,000 members of the UK public.
Press release from Splash About
Photo by Honza Soukup