H₂O – what’s the splash about?

H₂O – what’s the splash about?

In this blog we focus on WATER and its relationship with young children. Read on to find out interesting and valuable ‘watery’ information…

Water Facts – did you know…

  • Water is made up of two elements, hydrogen and oxygen. Its chemical formula is H₂O
  • Drinking water is needed for humans to avoid dehydration
  • We can go without food for around a month, but we’d only survive around a week without water

In the womb

Developing babies are surrounded by amniotic fluid, and their lungs are filled with this fluid. Because it’s normal for a fetus’s lungs to be filled with fluid, a foetus can’t drown in the womb.

Giving birth in water; water births

Water birth is the process of giving birth in a tub of warm water. The theory behind water birth is that since the baby has already been in the amniotic sac for nine months, birthing in a similar environment is gentler for the baby and less stressful for the mother.

Is it true that babies are born with the ability to swim?

According to www.babycenter.com, 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 brady-cardic response makes babies hold their breath and open their eyes when submerged in water, says Jeffrey Wagener, a paediatric pulmonologist in Colorado, a response that disappears after about 6 months. Also, until about 6 months, babies placed in water tummy down reflexively move their arms and legs in a swimming motion, which make them look like natural swimmers. These reflexes don’t mean the baby can swim, though, says Wagener.

Calling all parents! Start your baby swimming early for lifelong benefits. As said by www.waterbabies.co.uk “swimming teaches water safety.” Tragically, drowning is the third-biggest cause of accidental death among children under 5 in the UK. Swimming is also:

  • a great way of getting little ones exercising from a young age
  • a way to promote bonding – skin-to-skin contact strengthens the bond between adult and the little one
  • good for boosting confidence – introducing children to water at a very young age helps prevent a fear of water developing later

Swimming lessons

www.health.harvard.edu (June 2018) cites that “every day 10 people die from drowining. Swimming lessons can’t prevent all of those deaths, but they can prevent a lot of them.” It has been proven that children don’t really have the cognitive skills to learn to swim until they are around 4 years old. However, swim lessons between 1 and 4 years old can be useful. Useful because if a child falls into the water, skills for getting back to the side of the pool may have been learnt.

Check the websites of local leisure centres and swimming class companies for details and prices of swimming lessons available in your area. Here are a few places that offer children’s swimming lessons in the Wallington area though parents will need to check if it suits their requirements.

Westcroft leisure Centre: www.everyoneactive.com/centre/westcroft-leisure-centre/

Atlantis Swim School: www.atlantisswimschool.co.uk

Splash Swimming lessons: www.splashswimminglessons.co.uk

Whilst writing about ‘water and the under 5’s’, let’s touch on water safety at home too. ‘Did you know that people can drown in as little as 2cm of water?’ These top tips for water safety at home have been taken from the Drowning Prevention Charity www.rless.org.uk

  • Always use self-closing gates, fences and hooks to prevent children from gaining access to pools of water, such as a garden pond
  • Securely cover all water storage tanks and drains
  • Empty paddling pools and buckets as soon as they’ve been used. Always turn paddling pools upside down once empty
  • Always supervise bath time, empty the bath as soon as possible after use

Water Play for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers

Even the simplest ‘water play ideas’ at home or in the garden will entertain, engage and stimulate learning.

Water is wonderful for young children because it is super sensory, it’s free and readily available, it’s so versatile and easy to clean up too.

For babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers: why not fill a shallow tray with cool to lukewarm water, add objects such as sponges, cups, jugs, boats or dolls – they’ll love anything that can be used to scoop up and pour the water!

Adding food colouring or a mild scent to the water will increase a young child’s experience even more. Adding water to young children’s role play is an easy way to continue sensory development as they grow. Ideas include:

  • Having a teddy bear’s tea party; fill a plastic teapot with water and encourage ‘pouring’ tea for their guests
  • Add soapy water to a washing up bowl and invite the little ones to give their dolls a bath
  • Would-be-decorators can ‘paint’ the garden wall with water – all they need is a big brush or roller!

Don’t overlook the fun and fascination of splashing in puddles, darting through sprinklers and jumping to avoid a water spray of the garden hose! All of these fun water activities can be ‘enjoyed’ in a garden, or a back yard. Furthermore, share the ‘delights’ of rivers, lakes, waterfalls, seas and oceans when out and about with young children too.

Teach children to save water

How can you teach children to save water at home? Remind children to turn the tap off when they don’t need it which includes not letting the tap run when they clean their teeth. Get a water butt in the garden to collect rainwater in. Then when it’s full, let the children use it to water the plants and lawn. Encourage children and adults alike to take shorter showers.

Hydration for Children

Did you know that children are at a greater risk of dehydration than adults as they have higher water requirements? Did you also know that children sweat less than grown-ups?

Drinking water is the natural and healthy way for a child to stay hydrated. Drink early – by the time a child gets thirsty he or she may already be dehydrated. There are some tips from www.healthy-kids.com.au to help children stay hydrated:

  • Try a frozen water bottle in summer
  • Always offer water with meals and snacks
  • Encourage your child to drink water

What gleeful memories do you have of playing with water as a child?

Personally, I loved to splash in the rain puddles along my street. Caroline, Business Development Manager loved to play ‘pooh sticks’ from the water bridges (namely in Beddington Park) and Anne, Marketing and Social Media Officer loved to swim in the sea.

Blog written by Nicky Hopper, Director

To end this blog – let’s make a final “splash with” our 50th Anniversary news! As many followers know we are celebrating 50 years in business (1969-2019) and the news is that we will be holding an Alumni event in May 2019. Keep a look out on our Twitter and Facebook early 2019 for the details.

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