Summer has officially arrived! The days are longer, hotter and the kids are out of school. How do most of us cool off from the summer heat? With pool parties and other water activities of course! There are all sorts of toys to use and games to play with friends but do you know what you should avoid altogether? Floaties, also known as swim floaties or water wings, are one of the most dangerous items your children can use while playing in the water – we’ll explain why.
My child plays and swims more confidently when they use floaties. Why is this a bad thing? Your child may have more confidence in the water because their floaties provide them with a false sense of security. Using floaties gives your child the feeling that they’ll always be able to float on their own or jump into the pool and rise to the surface without assistance whether or not they are using floaties.
It is important to remember that a child cannot differentiate between when they are using floaties and when they are not. Children should attend swim lessons to learn how to feel the water, buoyancy and their body working to keep them afloat, rather than floaties.
I always make sure my child’s floaties are securely on their arms so they don’t fall off. They’d never be able to take them off. Has your child every unbuckled their car seat when you looked away for a moment? Have they ever emptied your pots and pans, silverware or Tupperware drawer without you hearing a thing? The same can happen with floaties.
Children can easily…and silently…take their floaties off and jump into the pool. Pool parties are often noisy with lots of people in and around the pool area. It would be nearly impossible for even the most responsible parent to hear their child remove their floaties. Nothing can replace an attentive adult, or a designated Water Watcher, keeping an eye on children playing in the pool, but teaching children to swim without floaties will certainly make the water safer.
I know that my child is safe in the water when they use their floaties. I feel better knowing that they will always be at the surface of the water when they use their floaties. You feel this way because your child’s floaties are giving you a false sense of security. Often times, parents feel better putting their child in floaties at pool parties because, even with a having a Water Watcher, it can be difficult to keep track of your child.
Here’s the problem – parents can often become overly confident that their child is safe in the water when the reality is, a child can remove their floaties in only a second if an adult looks away.
But I thought that Floaties were the safest option for my child who cannot swim or float on their own? Did you know that Floaties are not Coast Guard Approved? This means that they are not meant to be used as a lifesaving flotation device. Floaties are a toy and should be treated the same as plastic watering cans, diving rings, and water guns. None of these toys, including floaties, can save a child’s life.
Floaties are also made with a weak plastic that can easily rip or tear on rough pool surfaces. A child’s floatie can easily become damaged while playing in the pool. Using a proper fitting life vest is the best option if your child needs to be wearing a PFD.
Summer pool parties are lots of fun for children and families alike. The Swim Academy works hard to make your children safer in the water by providing swim lessons. These lifesaving lessons provide far more security than floaties. Contact us today to get your child involved in swim lessons!