Drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1-4 years of age. It is also the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children 5-14 years of age following car crashes.
As parents, we tend to prioritize the safety of our kids, especially around water. The thought of having them drown always puts us at the edge, and that’s why we normally take safety precautions to prevent that.
One of the ways we take precautions is by making our kids use water wings or floaties while swimming.
But are water wings or floaties really safe for kids?
Well, this is a question that has been debated for quite some time, and I believe it’s only necessary to examine all the facts surrounding water wings or floaties.
That said, for the period of this guide, we’ll dive down into what water wings are, discussing their benefits and drawbacks to help parents make a more informed decision about their perspective of water wings or floaties.
What You Should Know About Water Wings
These are Inflated swimming aids around the upper arms, sometimes called floaties, and are made to help young children float in water. Water wings are not safety equipment, as opposed to life jackets or life preservers approved by the US Coast Guard.
The wings on your child’s arms could fall off at any time, especially if they don’t have a chest piece attached. (Selecting a product with a chest piece lessens this worry.)
Also, possible dangers are punctures, deflation, or loosening of the inflatable material. Also, if your child flips onto their stomach, the water wings might hinder them or from rolling back over, making it more difficult for them to breathe.
The Benefits Of Water Wings
Children learning to swim can use inflatable water wings, armbands, or floaties on their upper arms to stay afloat. Water wings have advantages and disadvantages, while they can be helpful for some kids.
Let’s start with the Benefits:
Water wings frequently help young swimmers find their balance or gain more stability in the water. They also give you peace of mind that your children are appropriately supported in the water.
These water wings provide significant benefits, particularly for younger children who don’t have the strength or endurance to swim freely.
Water wings can make swimming safer by helping a child stay afloat. For example, a toddler with water wings is less likely to fall into the water and drown accidentally. Additionally, it lessens your children’s fear of the water and helps you rest easy knowing they are secure.
Children require a source of independence when they are first learning to swim. A toddler can experience independence and control over the water by utilizing water wings. They can move around independently and explore the water without an adult to hold them or provide assistance.
The Drawbacks Of Water Wings
It said that whatever has an advantage will have its disadvantages; despite all the listed benefits of water wings, it also has some drawbacks, which are:
1. False Sense Of Security
Since kids will rely too heavily on this swimming aid, they may occasionally act a bit callous and feel too at ease. Water wings can have some benefits in terms of safety, but they can also trick a child into thinking they are secure.
A child can take chances they otherwise wouldn’t by believing they are entirely safe in the water while they have their water wings on.
If you want your children to pick up swimming skills quickly, challenging them and letting them work hard is an effective strategy.
Some children could become overly dependent on their water wings and struggle to swim without them.
They require additional buoyancy to develop the strength and capacity to swim independently.
3. Poor Swimming Posture
Parents must ensure their children are motivated to work hard to improve in swimming. Water wings can also encourage poor swimming form because a youngster may rely too much on them and need the proper technique.
Swimming is a workout with tactics and techniques; postures matter greatly. As a result, they may need help to advance and become strong, confident swimmers.
Tips For Teaching Kids How To Swim Without Using Water Wings
Although some kids may find water wings helpful, it’s crucial to remember that they are not required to teach kids how to swim. However, training a baby to swim without water wings may be a more efficient technique to help them gain strength in the water and confidence.
Here are some tips for teaching your baby how to swim without using water wings:
The earlier they begin learning, the better. Children learn quickly while young due to curiosity, so you may take advantage of this and begin teaching them at the appropriate age.
A newborn can always be taught to swim at a young age. Additionally, some swimming experts suggest starting as early as six months. At this age, babies are less likely to fear the water and are more receptive to new experiences.
Use Gentle Techniques
Use gentle teaching methods: Although children pick up information more quickly, you should occasionally keep in mind that each child is unique and require individualized instruction.
Be kind to them and make it enjoyable and practical so that it doesn’t come off as a duty. For example, using gentle and supportive techniques is essential while teaching a baby to swim.
This may entail firmly holding them in the water and encouraging them with compliments. However, avoid harsh or aggressive techniques that can scare the baby and make them reluctant to swim.
Focus On Water Acclimation
Helping a baby acclimate to the water is the first step in teaching them to swim. This can involve dousing them with water, splashing about in the water beside them, and enticing them to blow bubbles. Next, introduce increasingly complex methods, such as floating and kicking, as they grow more at ease.
Practice In Shallow Water
Don’t undervalue the value of progressive learning, especially while teaching your children to swim. Ensure you teach them slowly and notice how they pick up the skill more quickly.
It’s imperative to educate a newborn to swim in shallow water first. Examples could be a shallow pool or a shallow section of a deeper pool. The baby will feel more secure as a result and be less likely to become alarmed or overwhelmed.
Use Age-Appropriate Techniques
It’s crucial to employ age-appropriate methods while teaching a newborn to swim. For example, older babies may be able to practice floating on their own with help from an adult. However, younger newborns may benefit from being held in the water and encouraged to kick their legs.
Be Patient And Encouraging
Learning to swim can be difficult and frightening for a baby. It’s critical to be understanding and motivating as a swimming instructor or coach throughout the process. Thank the infant for their efforts and acknowledge any progress they may have made.
Why You Should Teach Your Kids How To Swim
Learning to swim is a life skill that may save your child’s life. For children aged 1 to 14, drowning is the second most common cause of accidental injury-related mortality.
According to research, children ages 1 to 4 who take regular swimming lessons have an 88 percent lower chance of drowning. The ability to swim is a crucial one for drowning prevention in children.
1. It Promotes The Entire Child’s Development
Who among parents wouldn’t want their child to develop physically, intellectually, and emotionally faster? For example, children who regularly practiced swimming from infancy were shown to be much stronger and more coordinated than those who did not.
Their IQ and problem-solving scores were more significant. In addition, they were discovered to possess better emotional self-control, self-discipline, and a greater desire to succeed. They scored higher on self-esteem tests and were more autonomous and at ease in social settings than the control groups.
It Keeps Your Kids Healthy And Active
Swimming is enjoyable for youngsters and levels the playing field in the fight against childhood obesity. They can profit from buoyancy in the water regardless of their size or shape.
They can do it on their terms, with their own objectives, and at their own pace; they are not required to compete or stand out. One stroke at a time, swimming can provide access to an active way of life.
Enables Kids To Experience Countless Water Activities All Their Lives
Once a child develops a love of the water and can swim, the door is open to the many additional learning opportunities that the water may offer, like swim team, triathlons, snorkeling and scuba diving, surfing, water skiing, white water rafting, and just having fun in the water with friends.
Builds A Strong Parent-Child Bond
Nothing fosters connection and trust-building with your child like the feel of water on your skin. This link is strengthened if you start them in lessons when they are very young since parents are taught how to include games and fun and lifesaving techniques in the family swimming experience.
Tips For Keeping Your Kids Safe In Water
- While near a body of water, rotate with your spouse and make sure everyone is aware of who is “on duty.” Bathtubs, irrigation ditches, streams, rivers, and even little plastic kiddie pools fall under this category.
With just a few inches of water, infants and young children can easily and quickly drown. However, with this method in place, you are far less likely to forget the main objective: keeping your kids safe.
When a method for addressing your needs and those of your children are carefully established, inattention or just plain carelessness is considerably reduced.
- Bring infants, young children, and toddlers into the water as soon as possible and frequently. Infants adore the water and can swim instinctively and fearlessly, even underwater.
Most overlook that newborns have recently finished nine months of floating and swimming in the embryonic fluid. Babies are more accustomed to water the sooner we introduce them to swimming. Begin by showing infants how to blow bubbles in the bathtub.
Show them how to submerge their entire face in the water while holding their breath gradually. Afterward, take them to a pool where they may unwind by floating on their backs while putting their head on your shoulder for comfort and security. As kids become more comfortable in the water, increase the difficulty. Again, repetition and consistency are the keys.
- Provide young children in preschool and toddlerhood opportunities to swim with and without water wings. First, give kids water wings to experience buoyancy, then take the water wings off to let them feel the sinking sensation.
Repeat this slowly and safely until the kids know the stark contrast between swimming with and without water wings.
- Helping kids, especially young kids, gain proficiency and experience in the water helps them create confidence and develop abilities in advance, averting and significantly reducing the likelihood of an accident.
Similar to teaching respect for other people, teach respect for the water. Without the risk of harm or loss, developing a positive relationship with the water will make swimming a rich and enjoyable part of your life.
So, are water wings appropriate for young children? My Final answer will be NO. The reliance on them may hinder your child’s ability to develop swimming skills and aquatic safety. In addition, they are not considered valuable tools for drowning prevention experts.
Water wings are not considered a safe alternative for usage in water, even though they can help children with buoyancy and support while swimming.
Children who utilize water wings could get a false sense of security and become overly dependent on inflatable items. Children also risk drowning if water wings come off or deflate.
Parents and guardians should instead choose life jackets or other suitable floating devices certified by the United States Coast Guard to protect their child’s safety when in the water.