Swimming skills taught from birth helped save a toddler who tumbled into a pool fully clothed during a family holiday.

Cody Callard-Williams, 3, plunged into two-metre deep water while playing with a pretend fishing rod at his grandparents’ home in South Africa in October.

Amazingly the youngster, from Noble Park in Epsom, was able to not only remain afloat, but swim to the edge of the pool, despite being fully clothed.

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His frightened mother Kerry, 41, said she ran over to jump in and save her son, but he had already managed to swim up to the surface.

She said: "It was a terrifying moment; fortunately I was there when it happened but amazingly Cody acted on what he had learned in his baby swimming lessons, kicked himself to the surface and put his arm out to hold the side so that I could grab him up to safety.

"It was very scary for me at the time but Cody was completely calm and unfazed by the whole experience."

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Cody learnt to swim when just five months old during swimming lessons in Kingston and now has lessons in Twickenham.

Mrs Callard-Williams said: "I was very relieved that he had the sense to kick himself to the surface.

The fact he remembered to do that, even though he had a fright, was reassuring."

She said it was always imperative Cody learned to swim because his grandparents have a swimming pool. She said: "For us it was one of the things that was not negotiable.

"He had to have swimming lessons from an early age. I’m 100 per cent glad we stuck though it even when he went though water wobbles."

Melissa Holt, who runs Water Babies classes in Kingston, Twickenham and elsewhere in Surrey, said: "Tragically drowning is still the third highest cause of accidental death among children in the UK.

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"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 fall in."

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