While it’s a great source of fun and an incredibly important life skill, many kids are afraid of the water. This can be difficult for parents who want their children to learn how to swim. In such situations, floating aids can be helpful. There are several kinds of floating aids, all with their set of advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few:
Life vests are an effective way to keeping children afloat in the water, providing support for the front and back of the torso. These are especially made for adults and older children in cases of emergency involving boats, kayaks, etc. Life vests are likely the safest way to keep children afloat, but it should be noted that they do not make a child drown proof. As such, they cannot substitute for adult supervision. While they are very effective in keeping one afloat, they can be restricting for the arms and legs, which can interfere with learning how to swim.
Arm floaties, also known as armbands, have been a popular floating aid for years. These plastic bands filled with air are placed around children’s upper arms to help them float. The great thing about arm floaties is that they provide the opportunity for independent swimming. With this freedom, they are able to experience moving around the pool, blowing bubbles, and splash around. While arm floaties provide more movement in comparison to life vests, they can still restrict arm movements and create dependency.
The noodle is another popular floating aid— one that doubles as a pool toy. This long, noodle-looking piece of foam is very flexible and get be used in many different ways. They can be put under the armpits, wrapped around the chest, or between the legs. They’re popularly used in swimming lessons, as they provide buoyancy and promote independent swimming while barely restricting leg or arm movement. The noodle, however, is not as secured onto the body and can slip out of place.
Floating devices should never replace adult supervision, but are useful for different scenarios. Life vests, for example, would be the most helpful for things such as ocean sports, but would be too restricting for swimming lessons. For swimming lessons, where the goal is for children to learn to swim on their own, the noodle would be one of the more effective floating (and teaching) aids.