Swim school offers chance to bob with your newborn for free

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In this time of reactionary politics, xenophobia, and warfare, it’s nice to take a break and talk about something I think we can all embrace: Free swim classes for newborn infants.

Starting next week, parents will be able to experience swimming with their newborn babies for two-hour periods called “Tiny Tot Time” on Mondays and Thursdays, at four locations throughout metro Detroit.

You might have heard the pitch before, but plenty of voices in childhood development believe swimming classes, even for the extremely young, can help foster increased physical, emotional, and mental development, and decrease the likelihood of childhood drowning. Some observers joke that they’ve been swimming for nine months already — you’re just continuing their familiarity with floating.

Then there’s the fun that comes from paddling with your puny progeny, watching the little squirt soak and splash. The good folks at Aqua-Tots, the swim school sponsoring the promotion, do everything they can to make it a pleasant experience for parent and child, with spacious locker rooms and water heated to a comfortable 90 degrees. Aqua-Tots spokesman Dino Bruce says simply, “It’s a good way to introduce kids to water.”

Not all babies will love water right away, so it’s also a nice chance to see if the tykes take to it before you spring for flippers for your whippersnappers. There are also some rules before your pup can take the plunge: You have to call ahead, check in upon arrival, and dinkies have to be double-diapered before you can dunk them.

But if you want to try teaching your baby the backstroke, the good folks at Aqua-Tots, a national network of neonatal natatoriums, will be happy to help, and they offer a full array of children’s swim classes. They’re also planning on opening two new locations in Auburn Hills and Farmington Hills in April.

The promotion begins Feb 13, with swim periods between 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays in Canton (43335 Joy Rd.; 734-828-2000), Novi (W. 12 Mile Rd., Ste. C103; 248-845-4544), Troy, (846 E. Big Beaver Rd.; 248-845-4545), and Sterling Heights (44891 Hayes Rd.; 586-884-3633). For more info, see aqua-tots.com.

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