Summer is here, and if you plan on hitting the pool or beach, safety is always a concern— especially when it comes to kids. We’ve come to rely on floating devices to keep our kids safe and provide some peace of mind so we can all relax a little more around the pool. But do swim vests and arm floats delay swimming skills?
Yes, Arm Floaties and Swim Vests Provide a Level of Safety… But Not Completely
Arm floats and vests give parents the opportunity to look away for a minute or two while their kiddo plays in the water. But while they provide some protection, they should not be relied on 100 percent. Arm floaties, or “swimmies,” can easily slip off and lead to drowning. Parents or caregivers should always be vigilant when children are in or around any water source. Floaties can be used as an added safety precaution while a child is in water and a responsible adult is paying close attention. Floaties and vests may provide some safety, but swimming instructors do not encourage their long term use. Parents should also educate themselves on secondary drowning, which can happen hours after an inexperienced swimmer leaves the water.
But Do Swim Vests and Arm Floaties Delay Swimming Skills?
The simple answer to this question is yes, according to news reports. Arm floaties and vests are great at helping children stay afloat in water. However, these safety devices also keep children in a vertical position, which is not how swimming is done. Arm floaties and swim vests also trick kids into thinking they can swim on their own. In reality, a child who has only used floaties will not be able to swim very well at all. This, of course, can be very dangerous, so it’s important that a child learns to swim on their own.
Arm floaties, more than vests, can hinder a child’s ability to learn how to swim. If a parent feels more comfortable with their child wearing swim aids in the water, it is suggested that they use a vest instead of arm floaties, as vests are less likely to come off in the water. Learning to swim should start at a young age so that children are comfortable in water.
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