I honestly think that finding the perfect floatation device for a little one is nearly impossible! There are so many floaties on the market for kids who are learning to swim, kids who are not quite swimming, and even babies. While most of them go by weight range and sometimes ages or a skill level, those are not always 100% accurate.
When you are in the aisle at the store and you pick one that you think is going to fit your kid, you won’t actually know how well it works until you get it on your kid and you take them swimming. By then sometimes they are hard to return to the store. Trust me, I have three little ones who are in the beginning phases of learning how to swim and I found this out the hard way!
Today I wanted to share with you just some of the things I’ve personally learned about floaties for kids who are not quite independent swimmers yet.
Finding the Perfect Swim Floaty
The life vest has shoulder straps as well as an under crotch strap so that your kids are securely fastened in. These are great for smaller kids. My little Shrimp is still so tiny that she uses the life vest and it fits her well. The great think about the life vest is that she is securely fastened in to it, there is no getting out on her own. However, I personally don’t feel like it keeps her upright enough in the water to help her learn how to swim.
Our absolute favorite swim floaty is the Puddle Jumper, not to be confused with any other brand that looks the same, they are NOT (more on that in a few). The puddle jumper has arm and chest support and clasps in the back. It is also adjustable in the back, which is nice and you typically buy them based on weight. They are perfect because they help keep your childs’ chest and head out of the water. They can lay on their stomach and begin to learn how to paddle and kick.
Note: Beware of other brands that look similar to the puddle jumper for example Swim School. They are much more loose and don’t fit near as well as the puddle jumpers.
The last one I want to mention is the good old fashion arm floaty, which I thought had gone out of style. I am pretty sure that these are the ONLY kinds of floaties that were available when I was a kid and they were bright orange and sticky plastic. Now, they make them with softer covers. Miss B is definitely in the arm floaty stage. She is able to swim but still enjoys wearing them for the extra confidence. These are perfect for your kids that are so close to being independent swimmers but still lack that confidence. Plus they will allow you to breathe a little easier with your little ones as they begin to take more risks while swimming, like jumping off a diving board! Ah.
So many decisions…
Finding the right flotation device is a tough gig. You know you want your kids to be safe, you want them to be good swimmers, and you want to feel comfortable with what they are wearing.
There are so many kinds, brands, and price levels that it can be very overwhelming. You really just have to shop around and find the kind that fits your child the best.
I hope that this will help you in your quest to find the perfect flotation device for your little one. Again, these are my personal recommendations from my personal experiences. You may have completely different experiences. I just wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned over the past few years to help you with that floaty shopping conundrum and ease the stress that comes this time of year with swimming.
I’d love to hear what floaties have worked best for you and your family. I hope you have a wonderful and amazing summer.