View Full Version : Toddlers and water wings/floaties for swimming?

03-08-2011, 01:51 PM
DS is 2.5 and loves the water. We did mommy and me classes from 6 months-1 year, and since then have been in pools with him regularly. If anything, I wish he were a little more afraid of the water!

We will probably start swimming lessons again in the next few months. We have never used water wings or floaties or a life vest when he swims, it just didn't occur to me because the mommy and me class didn't use them. A friend saw a picture of him and was shocked that we have him in the pool without these things (to clarify - he doesn't swim by himself, we are always holding him, but he does jump off the side into our arms, and we let go of him at the edge so he can practice climbing out by himself).

So the question is - should we be using water wings or something similar? Will they be required for preschool age swimming lessons?

03-08-2011, 01:57 PM
Those things you put on their arms are HORRIBLE for learning to swim The only thing I have ever used is a swim bubble http://www.swimoutlet.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=25093&Click=310393

Our YMCA uses them in early swim classes. You deflate them as the swim skill gets advanced. On boats we use life jackets.

03-08-2011, 01:59 PM
Highly recommend puddle jumpers

03-08-2011, 02:01 PM
If you are able to be within arms reach and he is the only child you are supervising, then I don't think you need any kind of flotation for a swimming pool (boating, open water, etc. are different situations). We use the Sterns Puddle Jumper lifevests or a full-suit life vest when we are taking more kids that can't swim than there are adults or on a lake/boating situation. The other time they are helpfull is if you have a very independent toddler who will not stay in arms or may dart off.

Most preschool age swimming lessons do not use any kind of wearable/attached floatation, IME. In our red cross lessons, they only used the lifevests on the day they talked about using life vests as part of water safety. The rest of the time they used pool noodles or kickboards only as needed for practicing certain skills.

03-08-2011, 02:05 PM
our community pool does not allow kids to use any form of flotation device (no life vests, no water wings, nada). They do bring out floats (their own) to use in the lazy river portion of our local pool (with a parent there with the child) but otherwise, no flotation devices are permitted at all. Oh, and they will sometimes bring out kickboards for the kids to play with for a half hour here and there and then collect them again, but you can't bring your own in. I think the current thinking on this is that parents get lulled into a fall sense of security and may not provide adequate supervision when kids are using water wings/vests, etc.

eta: this is all of the time, not just for swim lessons. No flotation devices even when you are there for recreation.

03-08-2011, 02:20 PM
IMHO, floaty devices give kids (and parents) a false sense of security. DD is not afraid of the water at all (I, too, wish she was a little more timid around it)...but we are in the same situation you are. I have one kid who is never more than arm's reach away...and she's not the dart-away-from-me type. I feel comfortable not using anything when we are in the pool. She jumps from the edge into my arms, and reaches out for the side to practice that skill. If she does let go of me and goes under for a millisecond, she will learn that it is a possibility. I don't want her thinking she is a duck!

03-08-2011, 02:24 PM
I'm with PP's, DD doesn't use any swim floats when she's swimming with us, but when we're out on the boat or swimming a distance from the dock she wears her life vest. If the child is safe with you with a little jumping and dunking I think it's all good.

Our community pool and local beaches also don't allow swim aids.

03-08-2011, 02:29 PM
The Y where we took our first lessons didn't allow water wings at all, for the reasons already stated...a false sense of security, and they don't help with instructing kids to swims. A good friend of mine who used to lifeguard hates them, especially those cheapie kind.

What exactly does your friend think will happen with you in the water with him? People really need to stop giving unsolicited parenting advice from something they see in one picture. (or at all, for that matter.)

03-08-2011, 02:30 PM
Highly recommend puddle jumpers:yeahthat: The brand is Stearns.

03-08-2011, 02:37 PM
We also do not use any type of flotation device except on boats. DS1 can swim on his own (with supervision of course so I stay close) and DS2 needs lots of help but he can surface. We are in the pool alot in the summer and it scares me that my kids would have a false sense of security from a flotation device. DS2 has no respect for the water so we watch him like a hawk since he will just jump in if he gets the impulse.