Falkirk youngsters make a splash for sick babies

Catherine, John and Ashleigh are raising money for So Precious with the Water Babies Splashathon
Catherine, John and Ashleigh are raising money for So Precious with the Water Babies Splashathon

Hundreds of babies and toddlers will make a splash with a sponsored swim to help sick newborns.

Pupils at Water Babies will take to the pool this week in the hope of raising £10,000 to buy a new incubator for Forth Valley Royal Hospital’s neonatal unit.

The tots, aged from six weeks to four years, will dress up in a circus theme and take part in various challenges depending on their age and ability.

Prinicpal Wendy Lambie came up with the plan after learning that charity So Precious was fundraising to buy a Baby Therm - a temperature-controlled incubator for premature or sick babies.

Wendy, from Bonnybridge, said: “Both my children were born full term, but we have a lot of pupils who have benefitted from the neonatal unit.

“I saw So Precious was trying to buy the incubator and thought we could help. We have 480 pupils, so if everyone backs the splashathon, we should have enough to buy it outright.”

Catherine Myhill takes six-month-old daughter Ashleigh to Water Babies classes in Larbert. Ashleigh was born 11 weeks early, weighing just 2 lb 7oz and spent the first six weeks of her life in Forth Valley’s neonatal unit.

Catherine, who works in Prudential in Stirling and lives in Stenhousemuir, said: “Without the amazing staff and facilities at Forth Valley, I’m not sure Ashleigh would be with us.

“She loves swimming so raising money to help other babies in the neonatal unit with the splashathon is the ideal way to give back.”

Teaching life saving skills from birth

Babies are born with the natural ability to hold their breath underwater and the classes help to teach them to control their breathing further.

Water safety is taught from the first class, with babies shown how to get to the side of the pool and hold on.

Over the years several Water Babies pupils have fallen in to water and survived thanks to their lessons.

Using games, songs, floats and toys, the lessons are devised to be fun as well as educational.

There are 480 Water Babies pupils in the Falkirk, Stirling, Alloa and Fife area and 33,000 children attend classes around the UK each week.