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Let’s talk about poo

Swimming Lessons Trump Potty Training

As a parent, do you fear that your “mini-me” might one day accidently let a “floater” loose in the pool or at the beach? (Not to be confused with a “floatie”, which we don’t want to see in our pools either.) And yes, we know there can be “sinkers” too – (but not the actual kids) – but we live in hope of “floaters”. Read on to find out why.

Don’t let that fear delay starting swimming lessons until your child is potty trained. Your little one can start lessons as young as 6 months. Your child’s safety far outweighs the chance of a “Code Brown” incident. Yes, that’s what we call it in the swim industry, Code Brown – even though a baby’s poop isn’t always brown!



Oh Crap! S**t Happens… But rarely!

A Code Brown hardly ever happens. If it does, our staff have seen it all before. Just not that particular specimen! It’s a little bit like “déjà poo” to them, so they know exactly what to do to protect both the hygiene of the pool, as well as you and your child’s dignity.

We have processes and procedures in place to quickly deal with the situation. We follow NSW Health protocols relevant to the type and severity of the Code Brown incident.

First, watch our staff run for cover, because one of them will have to go fishing. Kidding, but only about the running bit. We all know that running is not allowed at any pool!

Everyone must first exit the water. Giving kids the chance to demonstrate their safety exit skills of course, whilst under a little bit of pressure. Then, one lucky staff member gets to try out their fishing skills. And this is why we hope for “floaters” – much easier to catch!

Normal chlorine levels won’t kill all faecal disease-causing organisms immediately or quickly. So once the poop has been scooped, the pool will be super chlorinated at the appropriate level. Even the equipment used will be sterilised. Backwashing will also occur. And no this is not a service we provide to your kids in lieu of a swimming lesson! Putting it simply, backwashing is cleaning the filter by reversing the flow of water to remove any debris, build-up, and contaminants.

Now if you want the “technical” explanation from one of our senior management team to the marketing team writing this blog… here it is…. (bear in mind that marketing people who produce these blogs usually sway more to the arts than science.)

“After a super chlorination or shock dose of the pool you backwash. Think of it as you’re killing all the little bacteria animals in the water – they are just going to be floating around dead making the water funky 😂 Essentially, after you kill all the grossness, you want to get rid of it and put some nice freshwater in. The fastest way to do that is to backwash. That way it also cleans up any of the grossness that got into the filters also. Don’t you love my technical terms!” Yes, we do!

Because we have to basically shock the crap out of the water, sterilising the water can take several hours. That means no-one can get back into the pool. So, classes must be cancelled. Depending on when it happened, and how severe, classes could be cancelled for the rest of the day.

Rest assured, the waters are tested during the shut-down period to ensure the pool has been disinfected, and to confirm safe chlorine levels return before re-opening.

And because we cancelled on you, you’ll be offered an extra make-up lesson, or instead, a credit to your account for the cancelled lesson.

Why do Poop Accidents Sometimes Happen?

Sometimes a parent takes the risk of their child no longer wearing a swim nappy just a tad too early. Or a child is fully potty trained but got distracted, was having too much fun (and we promise our lessons are fun), forgot and then it’s too late. Oopsie!

It’s also worth pointing out that movements in warm water can cause the bowels to relax. Our pools are chill free toasty zones – around 31 degrees. Our lessons have lots of movement. All that leg kicking is likely to help the colon move things along!

What Can You do to Lessen the Risk?

Try not to rush to swimming lessons. Rushing can make a child feel stressful. Stress for some kids (even adults) can bring on the need to do the deed. Rushing might also mean you miss taking your child to that oh so important bathroom visit before each lesson. Just getting them to sit on the toilet can prompt some action. Sometimes a pee can encourage a poo!

Help your child understand how to tell you when they need to go. Watch your child in the water. You probably know the type of face they usually make when needing to push one out!

Use a swim nappy if still potty training, or your child is known to be easily distracted, or known for leaving toilet needs to the last minute when on land. If in doubt, put a swim nappy on your child, and make sure it’s a good fit. If they feel too old to wear a nappy, use the word “pants” instead to make it all sound so much more grown up.

And of course, don’t bring your child swimming if they are sick – or within two weeks of suffering any diarrhea either.

What to Do if your Child does have an Accident

If you spot it first, let us know, calmly. Your little tot may already be upset, so if you get upset this might make them feel worse. We won’t make you feel like you, or your little one, have committed a crime. Our staff will treat you with compassion.

No doubt you’ll help your water babe deal with any feelings of shame or embarrassment and won’t accept it if they try to make fun of the event. Age and maturity dependent, we know you’ll explain clearly that pooing in the pool is not acceptable and why. Speaking to them in a kind but firm way.

It’s also a good idea to discuss ways to prevent this happening again. For example, get them to agree to certain things such as going to the bathroom before each lesson. Maybe remind them of all the pool rules, including no getting into the pool until the teacher says so, no running, and then add in the no pooing rule as well. Making it part of the general rules might help lessen any feelings of shame or embarrassment for them.

You might also want to find out the name of the staff member who went fishing and send them a nice thank you note.

Our Nappy Policy – It’s Quite Simple

Please do your part in reducing the risk of accidents by adopting some of the hints and tips we’ve provided and by following our Nappy Policy.

Babes and toddlers not fully toilet trained must wear tight fitting waterproof swim nappies.

Not an ordinary nappy, which will fill with water and weigh your child down. We are teaching your child to swim not sink! Some regular nappies contain crystals to absorb fluids to keep your bub’s bum dry. Expose these crystals to large amounts of fluid/pool water and they will expand so much that the nappy is likely to “explode” and create a mess – even if they haven’t pooped!

If you see your child’s “poop-face”, remove them immediately from the water to check. Especially if your child’s poos are usually loose or a bit runny.

If the nappy needs changing, do so away from the poolside of course. Time permitting, you can then return to the lesson.

Any person not complying with this policy will be instructed to not enter the pool (for e.g., we notice the child is wearing an ordinary nappy) or leave the pool (for e.g., the nappy needs changing.) Management will always have the right to suspend or cancel a customer’s account if a person continues to breach this policy.

In Conclusion

It hardly ever happens. If it does, it’s not the worst thing in the world. There are things you can do to lessen the risk. But don’t deter swimming lessons just because your precious one isn’t potty trained.

And remember, no swim nappy can contain urine, so don’t put them on your child too soon!

Urine in the pool is not a problem because it’s sterile when it leaves the body. If there are any pathogens from an infection for example, the pool chemicals kill them. However, that doesn’t mean we need your kid’s help to keep our pools warm and toasty by peeing in the pool…. And yes, it’s a myth that the water turns blue, but let’s not tell them that!

Trivia Wikipedia Fact: Rumours of the origin of urine indicator-dye go back at least as far as 1958, and the story is commonly told to children by parents who do not wish them to urinate in the pool. A 1985 biography of Orson Welles describes him using such a dye as part of a prank in 1937.

Hopefully, we’ve convinced you that the risks are minimal and you’re ready to enrol. So reach out to our friendly, understanding, caring and compassionate Customer Care Team.

Swimming lessons are an integral part of your baby’s development. Watching them become water-competent is a fantastic experience; being part of the ups and downs of learning to swim is something special. Anyone important in your child’s life can be the one to guide them during their years of water safety. Whether that person is dad or a significant male figure, the benefits are mutual. Immersed in the water or watching the progress, poolside, baby swim lessons are for dads too.

Bonding Time
We all know the importance of skin-to-skin contact. Essential to your child’s wellbeing, this close contact builds a tender, stable and reassuring bond between you and your baby. During a baby’s first two years, this kind of connection is vital, and swimming lessons are the perfect path to fostering it. Guiding your tiny tot in the water will strengthen your bond, and as bub becomes more confident in the water, you’ll both feel uplifted and proud.

Family Bathroom Facilities
There’s nothing worse than the sense of embarrassment and annoyance when you discover a venue hasn’t bothered to cater for both parents. To avoid this unnecessary confusion, we make sure our Aquabliss facilities are inclusive. If you’re the father or male carer for a baby girl, don’t stress, you can get bub ready, and wash and dress afterwards without any awkwardness.

Social Benefits
Sometimes it can feel like every baby-oriented activity is all geared towards mums. One of the main reasons we encourage dads to come to swimming class is because you can meet other doting dads. While you’re in the pool, you can chat and laugh with other dads about your little swimmer. Because you’re all in it for your water baby, there’s a great sense of comradery and fun. It’s an excellent way to meet like-minded fathers who aren’t afraid to get involved in a meaningful way.

Quality Time
All parents work hard; Mums and Dads alike can find it challenging to play a significant role as they’d like in bub’s life. If work takes a big bite from your spare time and leaves you wanting more moments with your little one – schedule quality time in the form of swimming lessons. While most activities tend to involve drop-off and pick-up only, swimming class is all about participation and being present. And the best news is you can help to better balance family life; while you’re in the water, other carers get some much-needed downtime.

Busy Schedule
As a dad, if you feel you don’t get enough quality time with your kids – schedule weekly swimming lessons into your diary. Committing to this appointment each week ensures you make time for your little one. The big-picture objective of swimming lessons is to set your water baby up for a lifetime of loving all things water. And playing a significant part in this process, from the beginning, means as bub grows, there’ll be plenty of shared-time; in the pool and at the beach.

Take the plunge with your baby, and you’ll both enjoy the benefits of sharing the learning-to-swim journey together. Get in touch with us today.

A Word of Caution About Dangerous Swimming Toys and Flotation Devices

Is there anything more inviting than a backyard pool, aquatic centre or beach, when you find yourself sweltering in the heat of an Australian summer?

Probably not. (Read on even if it’s not summer, because the same advice applies if your kids are swimming all year round – which we hope they are!)

If you don’t have a pool, there’s a good chance your child is constantly begging you to take them to the closest home with a waterhole (and it seems that any friend, relative or casual acquaintance will do). When swimming toys are lying around or come out of storage, you’re likely to see children racing each other on colourful foam noodles, which double as “water dragons”.

It’s easy to see why so many children look forward to being in the water, no matter the season. But their harmless splashing around can quickly take on a deadly tone, in cases where swimming toys and flotation devices create a dangerous environment.

Consumer protection experts, in 2017, warned Aussies not to float on air loungers in the water, after two people nearly drowned. Mother Anthea Chester told the Sydney Morning Herald that the fabric split and engulfed her daughter’s body, while she was in a backyard pool.

“She suddenly disappeared into the middle of it. She then emerged standing up, thank goodness, because the water was shoulder height and she was encased in the parachute material,” Ms Chester said.

That particular incident happened in the midst of a drowning epidemic that summer that claimed nearly as many lives as car fatalities. At least 15 people drowned in NSW alone during the 2016/2017 summer holidays – putting water safety back on the radar. In 2021/2022, that seems to be the case again.

Although swimming toys and flotation devices have their role to play in your child’s adventures, caution must be exercised at all times. Children under five face the greatest risk of drowning in backyard pools.

Swimming toys

Swimming toys such as noodles, dive rings, floaties and beach balls can be dangerous if left in the pool, because children may try to grab these from the pool’s edge and fall in. We urge you to pack toys far away from the pool, check for any leakages and make sure they’re appropriate for your child’s weight and age. Don’t just focus on this in the warmer months. Toys lying around the edge of the pool can be just as attractive to kids in the colder months. Whilst a pool gate provides greater protection, some children have been known to use chairs to help them climb over the fence.

There are certain toys that should be avoided completely, such as mermaid tails, which experts have warned about after an American girl nearly drowned while wearing one.

Flotation devices

These can be useful in recreational settings, especially if you have multiple children to supervise. But they can lure parents into a false sense of security, by giving the impression that a child can hold their own in deep water, even if this isn’t the case.

If you are helping your child to learn to swim whenever you are in the water, our advice is don’t overly rely on floaties. Floaties keep kids upright in the water but to be able to swim, a child needs to learn how to be horizontal in the water. They also need to learn how water can support their body (buoyancy). So don’t overuse floaties.

When choosing a floatie, make sure it fits well, which is based on weight, not age. You’re looking for a snug-fitting device that keeps your child’s head above the water and doesn’t restrict their arm movements too much.

Remember, floaties should never be relied upon as safety devices. Children should always be supervised and taught how to swim.

Contact us for more information about swimming lessons.