Frequently Asked Questions

If you can’t find the answers to your questions, please get in touch via our contact page.

Is swimming good for babies?2019-06-03T15:36:09+01:00

One of the benefits of baby swimming is that it starts building water confidence early. Swimming helps to improve coordination and balance. … While swimming will help to develop their muscles and joints, it also improves the strength of their heart and lungs, and helps to develop their brain.

Do babies know how to swim?2019-06-03T15:36:26+01:00

No. It’s not true that babies are born with the ability to swim, though they have reflexes that make it look like they are. A reflex called the bradycardic response makes babies hold their breath and open their eyes when submerged in water, says Jeffrey Wagener, a pediatric pulmonologist in Colorado.

When can a child swim unaided?2019-06-03T15:21:55+01:00

If a baby starts taking lessons from 4 months, at 12 to 18 months: there is a chance they can swim short distances unaided, turn unaided to an adult, and turn unaided to a ledge. 18 to 24 months: Children start being able to swim longer distances, turn unaided and even climb out of the pool, swim independently around adults, and pick up rings off the bottom of the pool.

How long does it take a child to learn to swim?2019-06-03T15:36:45+01:00

As a guide Children older than 3 years old with no previous swimming experience will take anything from 6 months to 18 months to learn to be safe in the water (between 24-52 swim lessons). A lot depends on confidence and how comfortable they are at getting their faces wet. The sooner they learn to go under water, in theory, the quicker they will learn to swim.

When can I take my newborn swimming?2019-06-03T15:38:02+01:00

The NHS advises that babies can be taken swimming at any age, and there’s no need to wait until your newborn has had their first immunisations. However we at little fishes recommend you check with your health visitors first as it was recommend to us to start at 4 months and potentially 3 months if baby wasn’t premature. So we tend to follow that guideline. So, although your baby is safe to swim, to avoid infection, mum should wait until around 6 weeks or 7 days after vaginal bleeding after birth stops. Also general swimming pools can be very cold for babies so you need to take this into consideration too so it is best to join classes like little fishes as they use warm pools more suitable for babies.

Do you offer one-to-one lessons?2019-06-03T15:35:32+01:00

We do offer one2one swimming sessions for children that:

  1. Find learning to swim difficult in a group difficult and need more individual support
  2. Are able to swim but need extra help in a specific area
  3. Are stuck on a particular level and need a boost to get them to the next stage
  4. Need extra technical training
How much do the lessons cost?2019-07-25T09:09:53+01:00

The cost of the sessions depends on the venue. Please see the Classes page for the prices for each venue.

What qualifications do the teachers have?2019-04-29T22:44:23+01:00

Teachers are ASA level 2 qualified and hold either lifeguard or RLSS qualifications. We also have ASA level 1 teachers who are there to support the teachers.

What are the sizes of the classes?2019-06-03T15:29:18+01:00

Class sizes, when parents are not in the pool, vary from as little as 4 in a class for beginners up to 8 in a class where children are competent swimmers, swimming in lanes and developing stamina. Where necessary we use ASA level 1 teachers and Pool Helpers to support teachers in classes where children are very nervous and therefore need extra help.

How can I pay for the lessons?2019-07-08T17:30:30+01:00

Bank Transfer
You can pay by bank transfer:

Bank of Scotland
Sort Code: 12-24-82
Account Number: 06193638

Cheques can be made payable to “Little Fishes & Wacky Whales” and sent to:

Mrs Debbie Foster
14 Brookside
AL10 9RR

Child Protection Policy2019-05-14T13:41:26+01:00
Health and Safety Policy2019-05-14T13:43:30+01:00
Can the children earn badges?2019-07-15T11:43:28+01:00

Yes. The babies earn specially designed badges created by Little Fishes and then from the age of 3 children move on to the Swim England award scheme which covers water skills, technical training and distance swims.

The Learn to Swim Pathway goes on to set out stages of learning from 1-7 that teach students FUNDAMENTAL MOVEMENT SKILLS from basic water safety at stage 1 to developing a quality stroke technique for 100 metres at stage 7. Whilst our swimming lessons are open to people of all ages, these 7 stages have been developed by the Swim England with an emphasis on learning through fun.

Stages 8-10 are more specialist development classes to progress the swimmers ability further. At some centres these classes are delivered by the local swimming club but at Little fishes we have introduced a hour swim session to accommodate this higher level as all children and parents do not want to commit to swimming clubs that have an expectation that you need to swim several times a week.

The Swim England Learn to Swim Pathway consists of four frameworks:

  1. Swim England Foundation Framework
  2. Swim England Learn to Swim Framework (Stages 1-7)
  3. Swim England Aquatic Skills Framework (Stages 8-10)
  4. Swim England Adult Swimming Framework

The Pathway is an all-inclusive programme which takes the non swimmer from his or her first splash to developing confidence and competence in the water.

We do offer one2one swimming sessions for children that:

  1. find learning to swim difficult in a group difficult and need more individual support
  2. Are able to swim but need extra help in a specific area
  3. Are stuck on a particular level and need a boost to get them to the next stage
  4. Need extra technical training
How long is each course?2019-07-25T09:12:51+01:00

Each course is either 10 or 11 weeks depending on venue and we break, generally, in conjunction with school holidays. The classes are half an hour long.

What should my baby wear to swimming lessons?2019-07-15T11:42:57+01:00

Babies must always wear a snug-fitting swim nappy available from most chemists or large supermarkets. Your baby is welcome to wear another swimming costume on top, but that’s entirely up to you. A baby Wetsuit – even though we swim in warm water pools some little one may need a bit of extra warmth.

What is the temperature of the water?2019-07-15T11:42:35+01:00

We only use warm pools or hydrotherapy pools for our baby swimming classes. Pools are heated to between 30 and 34 degrees to ensure that babies can fully enjoy their water experience.

When shouldn’t I bring my baby to swimming?2019-07-15T11:42:11+01:00

Never swim your baby if they have conjunctivitis, an ear infection, stomach bug or diarrhea. If you little one is unwell with any of the above please do not attend swimming. Any concerns please check with your doctor first.

Will my baby be able to swim?2019-07-15T11:41:48+01:00

Children are physically able to lift their heads in and out of water to breathe at around the age of 3 years old. Before then they do not really have the strength, endurance and motor skills to master this so at Little Fishes, we enhance their natural ability to hold their breath and perform doggy style paddling until they are able to undertake and learn the standard strokes.

Does my baby need to have completed the full immunisation course?2019-07-15T11:41:28+01:00

Tetanus, Diphtheria, polio and whooping cough cannot be contracted from chlorinated water and research and advice states that there is no reason to wait to go swimming until the full immunisation is completed however as we generally take babies from 4 months if parents do immunise their babies this will have been done. We therefore recommend if anyone wishes to start earlier or has any reservations they must speak to their Health Visitor or G.P. before starting lessons.

Find a Class

Find a swimming class in your local area for your baby or child.

Find a Class



Laurel Chilcot Smithson

Debbie and team have worked wonders with my eldest, who used t be afraid of the water and swimming under water. He’s just moved up to the class where he doesn’t need parents and the instructors were brilliant with him! They have been so patient!! I had a proper ‘proud parent’ moment recently to see how far he’s come. Thank you – he loves coming to your classes!

Marina Thomas

My son started with Little fishes a year ago, too scared to get into the water, didn’t like  water splashing on him and unable to swim or stand alone in the pool. A year on he looks forward to every swimming lessons and can enter the pool alone, with the aid of a sausage float is starting to swim by himself. Absolutely fantastic instructors, friendly professional and encouraging. All three of my children attend classes and all growing in confidence and becoming brilliant swimmers. The team have done an outstanding job catering for all three very different personalities and three very different capabilities.

Caroline Harborow

“Little Fishes has been teaching my son Archie to swim since he was nine months old. The lessons were fun for him and from an early age he learnt to be safe in the water. Now, aged six, he is a competent swimmer and I feel confident enough to leave him in a pool on his own. He has also developed a love of swimming and the water. Would thoroughly recommend Debbie and her team at Little Fishes.”

Read More Testimonials