May 28 2012 By Poppy Bradbury
Steven and Lucy Fitzgerald have launched Water Babies programme at Mandeville School
BABIES are proving to be natural born swimmers thanks to a new programme in North Greenford.
Steven and Lucy Fitzgerald have launched Water Babies programme at Mandeville School, with lessons designed to teach babies and toddlers confidence and safety in the water, allowing them to swim independently from as young as 30 months.
Managing the franchise from north west London, this is the couple’s first foray into business. They decided to make the leap after braving the water with their infant son.
Steven said: “We heard about the classes from word of mouth. Our son is four and half and we started when he was six weeks old. He’s a really confident little swimmer now. We were anxious initially but babies can start swimming with us from birth.”
For parents who may be apprehensive about taking young babies into deep water, Steven emphasised how every parent is taught important safety techniques.
“Safety is a huge part of the programme and we’re the only swimming company with a governing body,” he said. “Tragically, drowning is the third highest cause of accidental death among children in UK.
“In most cases it’s the shock of submersion that causes children to panic. We believe by introducing babies to water from as early as possible, they’ll be less likely to experience fear if they do fall in.”
Steven is originally from Melbourne, Australia and left his job in the building trade to start the business, which also runs classes at Harrow School Sports Club and Sunshine House in Northwood. And he has become the company’s first male swimming instructor.
He said: “I truly believe in what I do. Watching each baby’s progression, and the look on their parents’ faces is so rewarding. I can’t imagine a day when I’m not teaching.”
Wife Lucy, who grew up in Greenwich, swapped a career in law for the more calming environment of water and hopes to become a trained instructor soon.
“Our aim is to create a really fun, sociable and energetic atmosphere,” she said. “Plus it’s a great way for parents to meet other mums and dads who live in the local area.”
A 10 week programme costs £150. For more information call Steven on 020 8427 4012 or visit www.waterbabies.co.uk.