Pool Floaties -Yes or No?
Should children wear them? Do they help kids learn to swim?
As I began the research on this question, I can tell you that most people fall passionately on one side or the other. They either love them or they hate them. As a general rule most organizations that teach swim lessons do not support the use of floaties or water wings. (Note we are not talking about Flotation Aids such as kick-boards or noodles – which are used all the time when learning different swimming methods.)
From the LOVERS
Those who love floaties believe they provide children when a certain level of confidence and comfort in the water. The increased confidence in turns enables the child to spread their wings and fly so to speak. In addition, most parents just like the added security they feel when their child has them on.
From the HATERS
Most floaty haters declare that floaties artificially add buoyancy to a child, therefore the swimmer is not interacting with the water in a “natural way”. This means that the muscles which we learn to use to balance, and move around in water are not working the same way they would if there was no floaty. Kids who always swim with arm-floaties on are not exercising and strengthening the core section of the body, which is what is needed when learning to swim.
In addition most haters realize that parents can become complacent when their child is wearing floaties. The problem arises when there is a distraction and because parents feel the added security – the temptation is there to look away for a moment. If the swimmer needs constant attention without floaties, they need constant attention with floaties.
Children who are given floaties and finally venture out across the pool, don’t remember that they achieved such a great milestone Because of the floaties. All they remember is that they can “swim” across the pool! If they happen to get to the pool area without an adult present, they may feel overly confident and try again without the floaties. Therefore part of learning to swim safely is knowing your limits and most haters believe floaties give children a false sense of security.
Regardless of which side you fall on, remember the best thing you can do for your child is to help them learn to swim whether it is with or without floaties is your parental choice. Additionally, never rely on only one means of protecting your child in and around water. Adult Supervision is vital to your child’s swim safety.