Swim Safety Tips & Gear for Kids
Summertime is so much fun when you have kids. There is nothing like spending a day at the local pool (or your backyard pool, if you’re lucky enough to have one), splashing and jumping and sliding with your kids. Between floaties and towels and sunscreen and snacks, it is a process to pack up and take the kids to the pool. But it is always such a worthwhile trip when you see how happy and worn out your kids are at the end of the day!
But swimming with kids, especially when they are young, can also be stressful. Kids and water is an exciting but scary combination. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, after birth defects, drowning is the leading cause of death in toddlers ages 1-4. Scary? Definitely! But that doesn’t mean you should just skip the pool and stay home instead. It just means you need to take extra precautions with kids around the water.
Swim Safety & Kids: The Basics
It goes without saying, but young kids should never be left unsupervised near water. Water is so exciting to them! It is shiny and shimmery and it moves when you touch it… It is simply irresistible to your young tot.
- If you have a pool at home, it should have a gate around it that remains locked when the pool is off limits. You may also consider an alarm for the door that leads to the backyard so you can be alerted if someone heads in the direction of the pool.
- Impose this rule: If I’m not in the pool, you’re not in the pool. Not sitting on the steps, not even a toe in the water. Kids like to push boundaries and test limits. Set the rule early and remind your kids often that they can’t be in the pool if you (or their designated adult) isn’t in the pool with them.
- Get your child swim lessons as soon as you can. As your child gets older, they will get numerous invites to pool parties and days at the waterpark. They’ll be invited to lake houses and probably head out on vacations where there is some form of water. Don’t wait to teach them to swim. Kids as young as six months can start lessons in most areas. The sooner they become comfortable in the water, the better!
- Be vigilant when your kids are in the water. Don’t be distracted by conversations with friends or scrolling on your smartphone. Make sure you always have eyes on the water. Drownings are fast and silent, which is why they are scary. Seconds matter when it comes to kids drowning.
Swim Safety & Kids: Must-Have Items
Confidence in the water won’t come overnight with many kiddos. For other kids, overconfidence in their swimming abilities will be worrisome. One way to help a kid gain confidence in the water is to let them use a floatation device. There are many types and styles on the market, and each floatation device has a specific age and weight limit that it is important you adhere to. A floatie that is too big for your child may not stay on properly and your child could quickly find themselves underwater. A floatie that is too small for your child also won’t help them keep their head above water.
One thing to note here, and this can’t be stressed enough, is to teach your child the role of a floatie. Show your child the difference between being in the water with a floatie on and being in the water without a floatie on. Kids who learn to swim with floaties gain both freedom and confidence. But there have been times where that same child, confident they can swim in deep water because they have with floaties on, heads out to the deep end without that floatie and trouble ensues. Make sure your child understands the service their floatation device is providing.
Floaties for Kids
Baby Float or Swim Trainer- perfect for babies up to 4 years
- Baby swim floats are perfect for young kids once they can sit up by themselves. These floats should have a solid bottom with holes for baby’s legs. They enable you to be near baby in the water but not always holding them. Some parents swear by Otteroos, which are floaties that go around baby’s neck to allow the child to play and float freely in the water. They aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but, some sure love them!
- Swim trainers give baby a bit more freedom in the water. This model from Fred’s Swim School enables baby to lean forward and freely kick to move around the pool. So fun!
- Puddle jumpers are fabulous for kids in the 30-50 pound range, about ages 2 to 5. They sit firmly around a child’s upper torso and help the child stay above water. They are great for kids who want to jump off diving boards and diving rocks but can’t yet swim in deep water. These rock because they are made of foam so they won’t ever deflate and can last multiple seasons and multiple kids!
- These are the inexpensive, sometimes hard-to-put-on floaties you can pick up almost anywhere. They are perfect for kids who can almost swim but still need a little help. They are easy to stick in a beach bag and inexpensive to replace if one gets a hole.
- Life jackets are generally cumbersome for backyard pools but are a great option if you have one. They are usually also pricier than other options on this list. Life jackets should always be worn in open water- lakes, oceans. On a boat, a life jacket should always be worn by every occupant, every time. No exceptions. This rule also applies on jet skis. Open water is so exciting but it can turn on you in a minute. Teach kids water safety early on so many of these rules are just automatic.
Once your child has outgrown their floatation devices, get some money back on your investment by selling the floatie with Good Buy Gear! If you’re on the market for a new floatie for summertime but have a limited budget, shop our collection of preloved floaties that are ready for more fun in the sun.