A Harrogate mum is hoping a product inspired by her own experiences with her daughter will help toddlers become more confident swimmers.
Donna Heaton has developed MonkeySwimmers as an alternative to traditional inflatable armbands which she found difficult to use with her daughter Millie.
“I struggled with blow up armbands on Millie because they were always too tight, hard to get on and made it difficult for her to move her arms properly,” said Donna.
She developed her product to engage children and their parents to improve water confidence before starting swimming lessons and wrote a storybook, Monkeys Can’t Swim, to go with it.
“The story is about twin baby monkeys who sit in a tree watching their animal friends play in the water but can’t join them because monkeys can’t swim,” says Donna.
Donna’s book and a matching progress chart were brought to life with the help from a local illustrator Julia Ward and graphic design artist Will Wood of Creative Council, Harrogate who also designed the packaging and website.
“Developing the product wasn’t easy and I had to work extra hours at a local nursery to pay for prototypes and test products,” says Donna.
“We tested everything on Millie and we didn’t stop until we had the most comfortable and the slimmest design possible.”
The product is already stocked by Amazon and John Lewis and has interest from other UK retailers as well as distributors in the USA, Australia and Europe.
“MonkeySwimmers were developed out of a bad experience with a cheap product and it has taken three years to get to this point.
“It hasn’t been easy but it’s been a fantastic experience and I really hope the MonkeySwim concept will make life easier for parents who want to help their children learn to swim.”
Donna has now extended the storybook concept to a new product, Froggles, anti-fog goggles that come with a story about Lenny, a young tree frog who struggles to see underwater.
MonkeySwimmers are suitable for ages 1-6 and cost £19.99 including the armbands, storybook and progress chart from www.monkeys-inc.com