Floaties: Harmful or Helpful for Children?
The Pros and Cons of Pool Floaties + Flotation Devices
If your little one is eager to swim, chances are you have considered purchasing pool floaties for them. Indeed, floaties provide seemingly amazing support for those who have not yet learned to swim, all the while offering comfort and a non-bulky alternative to life jackets.
With that being said, inflatable devices of all shapes and sizes do have risks, and can at times be deadly. In this article, we will explain the different types of floaties, their respective dangers, and safe and effective alternatives for parents.
Dangers of Floaties
Most significantly, pool floaties offer explicit and implicit dangers for children. From inflatable devices that require air to flotation devices such as pool noodles, floaties provide threats to child safety, including but not limited to:
- Floaty Slippage: For inflatable devices such as water wings or swim rings, they can easily slip out of children’s extremities and provide an immediate drowning threat. As many children are incredibly young when learning to swim, inflatable devices therefore require constant observation to ensure that no malfunction occurs.
- Floaty Damage: Due to their material, certain floaties can easily be punctured or cut. From inground pool corners to pool supplies unknowingly puncturing them outside of the pool, floaties must constantly and consistently be checked for small cuts and holes.
- Decreased Parental Monitoring: As floaties provides a false sense of security, some parents have the implicit assumption that less attention can be given to their child when in a pool. However, as the aforementioned warnings noted above stressed, parents should always be diligent and attentive to their child if/when they are wearing flotation devices.
- Irregular Swimming Habits: Although not a threat to one’s life, floaties inhibit one’s ability to learn proper swimming habits and practices. Specifically, children are not able to learn how to float on their back effectively with floaties.
Alternative (and Safe) Solutions to Floaties
As one can see, floaties are not the safest or most effective options for children who are learning how to swim. Nonetheless, there are multiple alternatives in the market that provides increased safety, all the while building good swimming habits. Specifically, the following options should be considered:
- Type II Vest: Described as a “near shore vest,” this is perfect for calm waters and intended for the wearer to be naturally turned “up.”
- Type III Vest: Best for sports activities while offering the most range of motion, Type III Vests have kid-friendly sizes, are comfortable, and not too bulky.
- Coast Guard-Approved Swim Rings: These rings are safer than most, and allow for a full range of motion.
It’s Time to Rethink Floaties
For decades, floaties and water wings have been thought of as safe and effective sources for supporting a child and their journey to autonomous swimming. However, we must evolve from this perspective and realize the implicit and explicit dangers of floaties. From teaching irregular swimming habits to causing unnecessary safety concerns, the reliance upon floaties for new swimmers must be reconsidered.
Safer Swimming with Millennium Pool Service
In the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area looking to make your pool as child friendly as possible? Be sure to contact our pool renovation team today for answers to all of your construction answers. Whether you are a parent whose child is just beginning to learn how to swim, or actively searching for alternatives to the standard and traditional floaty, be deliberate and conscientious with your pool renovation decisions and child’s swimming assistant devices.