Help what swimming aid should I use!

by carolyn carey

My 6yr old daughter has cerebral palsy chronic lung disease uses oxygen 24/7 hypotonia with left hemiplegia. She loves swimming & currently uses arm bands as she must keep face out of water at all times due to poor swallowing reflex trying to find an aid which will give her more freedom of arm movement while still supporting her head. Was looking at neck collars but have only seen pictures of people upright or on back in them can she learn to swim on her front wearing one or are they likely to cause problems? May be tip face into water? Any advice on suitable aids or where to look much appreciated.

Dear Carolyn,

A neck collar is ok if you are swimming on the back or vertical but i feel that swimming on the front will put too much stress on the spine and may be the neck as well. I personally think you could have problems the support is given from the head and nowhere else. To be totally honest i do not believe they are suitable for any kind of swimming unless you are relaxing and you don’t want to get your head in the water. I have never used them for teaching.

I think that a swim belt around the waist or a body swim jacket which is basically looks like a life jacket and supports the body in the middle would be your best option. This can be combined with a woggle which is placed under the arms leaving your child’s arms free. Here’s a link to a site which sells swim jackets this will take you to the page so you can see what they are like. But you could purchase one in any good sports shop. They are about £20-30.

Arm bands tend to restrict the arms so they are unable to move making the stroke less efficient and you also become over buoyant.

Here’s a link for so you can see the benefits of woggles it’s me on my website but it simply demonstrates how a woggle can keep your head above water. It’s at the end of the page

As you can see I’m an adult and it keeps my head above water nicely. So a 6 year old child will have no trouble along with a swim jacket there should be no problem. But always remember to keep an extra eye on your child never rely on any swim aid it always says on the packaging this is a flotation aid never leave a child unattended. A woggle can be purchased from any good sports shop and only cost between £3-5.

I hope this has been of some use for you and I hope you manage to teach your child to swim once you have the swim aids sorted. I’m very interested how you get on. Get back to me when you have achieved something with your child. Also get back to me if you have any more problems id be more than happy to help you. If you have methods and ways you have learned to teach your child to swim, you can make another submission to me and share with others who may be interested in teaching their child to swim who have the same difficulties that you are experiencing.

I also have an eBook which i have written myself which may be an interest to you. It’s all about how to teach your child to swim. More practices and methods than my web site, its £4-79 and if you don’t find it useful then ill happily refund you. Here’s a link to the page.

Thanks again
Dale :)

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Aug 20, 2011
swimming aids for the disabled
by: carolyn

Thanks for your comments the woggle will not stay under her left arm due to weakness that side causing her to spin when it works free we have tried cutting one in half to see if each arm being independant helped but it only lasted couple of minutes longer at the last swimming lesson we tried a sharks fin with the arm bands which was good for helping to bring her legs up into a more appropiate position will let you know how we get on with a swim jacket as I have a friend who will loan me one next time we go.

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