WATER Babies Wiltshire is celebrating after winning a top national award for the fifth time in as many years.

The company, which teaches babies to swim from birth, has been crowned Best National Baby and Toddler Development Activity (newborn to two years) at the 2012 What’s On 4 Junior Awards.

The awards ceremony took place at the Hilton Avisford Hotel in Arundel, West Sussex, earlier this week, making it the fifth time Water Babies has won a national accolade in the past five years.

The aim of the awards is to recognise companies, organisations and individuals who provide the best activities for children.

The finalists were all voted for by parents and carers nationwide.

Paul Thompson, who co-founded Water Babies after the birth of his daughter Imani in 2002, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to win this award.

“This year we are celebrating our 10th anniversary so it’s a really exciting time for the whole company.

“We started as a very small family-run business in Yorkshire and now we teach over 28,000 babies to swim each week across the UK, Ireland and Australia.”

Claire Southworth, from Water Babies Wiltshire, said: “Baby swimming lessons are a great activity for both babies and parents to enjoy together and it offers the chance for parents to meet other mums and dads in the local area.

“Our aim at Water Babies is to create a really fun, sociable and energetic atmosphere.”

The Water Babies programme is designed to make the most of babies’ natural affinity with water.

It teaches confidence and safety, using specialist techniques that see many babies swimming short distances from as young as 30 months.

Babies can be taught to swim from birth with the youngest client just two days old, but normally, the babies start at around six weeks.

Despite the emphasis on fun, the Water Babies course does have a very serious safety point.

Claire said: “Tragically, drowning is the third highest cause of accidental death among children in the UK.

“In most cases it’s the shock of sudden submersion that causes children to panic.

“We believe that by introducing babies to the water from as early as possible, they’ll be less likely to experience fear if they do fall in.”

For more information about where Water Babies is held in Swindon and Wiltshire, call Gemma Hopkins on 01793 337 118 or visit www.waterbabies.co.uk