The Royal Life Saving Infant Aquatics program is taught with the child dependent on the parent or carer in the water.

Parents are an integral part of their child's aquatic education by providing guidance and support through activities that develop water familiarisation, exploration and water safety skills. The program encourages progression in developing aquatic skills suitable to the child's developmental stage.

Infant Aquatics uses songs, games and activities to ensure children experience a variety of skills including entries, floating, breathing and movement.

Duck Stages (Levels)

The Infant Aquatics program has six 'duck' stages, enabling swim schools to arrange classes by age groups or a more flexible system if the provider prefers. 

Stage 1 - Up to 12 months

Stage 1 focuses on safe entry and exits and conditioning the baby for submersion.


Stage 2 - 12 to 18 months

Stage 2 focuses on extending baby's breathing control and submersions.


Stage 3 - 18 months to 2 years

Stage 3 focuses on entering the water and learning to turn towards the edge. Children in this stage can start kicking with assistance.


Stage 4 - 2 to 2.5 years

Stage 4 focuses on gaining independence with entries, submersions and using arms and legs through the water.


Stage 5 - 2.5 to 3 years

Stage 5 focuses on mastering breathing control and commencing to blow bubbles. Children in this stage will be able to display independent propulsion with kicking and paddling.


Stage 6 - 3 years plus

Stage 6 focuses on safely jumping into the water and returning to the wall independently. Children will also be able to blow bubbles with the face fully submerged.


What's next?

Your child can now progress to Swim and Survive levels!

Development Strands (Learning Areas)

Infant Aquatics Development Strands Within each duck stage there are six key learning areas that keep the program well-rounded, challenging and rewarding.

The key learning areas are called 'strands', which are also consistent throughout the Swim and Survive program.
  • Getting Wet is about entering the water safely using different entries appropriate for each motor development stage progressing towards encouraging safe independent entries and exits.
  • Breathing develops confidence in getting the face wet, blowing bubbles and learning to submerge. Fun activities promote relaxation and breath control.
  • Going Underwater is a gradual process encouraged as each child shows readiness to participate and initiate the skill themselves. Using simple cue words, actions and songs, this will create a fun and non-threatening environment to support the learning of this skill.
  • Staying Afloat activities focus on experiencing floating on the front and back. Learning to float is an important skill not only to progress to propulsion but is an essential survival skill for every child.
  • Keeping Balance provides experiences of body orientation and rotation skills which are vital for developing survival and mobility skills.
  • Basic Kick and Arm Action activities promote kicking and paddling to develop basic propulsion skills. Initially, these skills will be rudimentary but as crawling, walking and running skills are gained on land, coordination of kicking and paddling skills will develop and become stronger.

Enrol your child at a Royal Life Saving Endorsed Swim School and start their swimming and water safety journey today!

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