The story of the beginning of AMPHIBIES BABIES AFRICA™
It all began in 1967, in Villars-Sur-Ollon, a small village in Switzerland.
Alexis, the son of a French swimming teacher, Jean Fouace, was playing near the side of the pool at a holiday resort when his father was called away to the telephone. Needless to say, the child decided to get a closer look at the water… and SPLASH!!! Seconds later, his father returned from the telephone call and noticed that his 8-month old baby son was in the water. He also noticed that he had his mouth tightly closed and his eyes wide open. The pool attendant, surprised to see his father observing his child without panicking or assisting him, jumped into the water to rescue the child. The adventure of infant swimming started there for Jean. He decided he was going to work on a method of teaching babies and young children the self-surviving skills of turning onto their backs to float with their respiratory tracts out of the water. After years of practice and intensive research, Jean established Les Bébés Amphibies International. In the mid 70’s he visited several countries around the world, including South Africa, to teach and skill swimming teachers in this water survival method for infants of his. He is reckoned the “father of baby floating”.
This “Self-Rescue Water Safety Method” teaches babies and children a conditioned reflex that can save their lives. And now decades later, we have founded our own AMPHIBIES BABIES AFRICA™. It is a combination of Jean and Lizette’s experiences and expertise in this very specialized field of instruction. Jean and Debbie Vorster (Les Bébés Amphibies International License Holder in South Africa) have been Lizette’s mentors since she started practicing this method in 1991.
Lizette also received various visits from Jean since then. She is spending 10 hours per day in the water, teaching babies to be water safe. In total she has spent already more than 80 000 hours in the water with the babies during her swim teaching career and has already taught more than 8500 babies to float and to be water safe. Nearly all these babies continue to participate in our various Learn-to Swim Programs and have become very competent- and competitive swimmers.
It is a survival method designed for infants and developed around their natural ability to float in water. All babies can float due to their low density (which is nearly similar to that of water). What this method teaches is for babies to float on their back for long periods of times with controlled balance and breathing and without any assistance from another person. The duration of the training programme varies between 3 and 4 months, depending on how regularly Lizette sees the baby. Lizette is one-on-one with each baby, making it very personalized and focused. Parents are allowed to sit close-by and observe the whole process.