swimming equipment learn to swim/ What are your thoughts on flotation devices?

by Sumayah
(Aldie, VA)


I have a two year old who is very comfortable in the water. We have been taking him to swim lessons since he is six months old. I know I might have a very unrealistic expectation for him to be swimming by the age of 3.5 so I’m trying to make sure that I don’t do anything to slow his progress down. I’ve been told by other parents (who’s kids are 6 or older but do not swim yet) to buy this thing called a puddle Jumper. Do you know anything about this product? Would you recommend it? What do you think of putting toddlers in vests and flotation devices? Do you think they would hinder the child form learning how to swim to a point where they become dependent on them and not on the skill of swimming?

Thank you very much for your time!

Hi Sumayah,

To be honest to your question question no I’ve never heard of a puddle jumper but I did Google it and saw what it actually is. I can see from the picture what it is basically the child puts his/her arms through the holes and it supports across the front. To me it looks too much like arm bands. This would only be suitable for a floatation device not to learn to swim. So in that respect you are right about those.

On the other hand Swim jackets are a totally different thing altogether and these would be more suitable to teach your child to swim. They are similar to life jacket that you wear to keep your child floating whilst the arms are free to learn to swim. Yes I do think those are a good idea. I’ve always taught all my children to swim using simple swim belts that are described and used on some of the pictures on my website and my eBook, I’ve used swim belts to teach adults too (tying 2 together). I’ve been teaching children to swim for 15 years using swim belts and never had a problem. The only floatation aid I’d never use are rubber rings and arm bands. I’ve Never ever taught using those and never will.

The thing with swim belts I find is that as the child improves you can remove a piece of the belt without interrupting with the performance of the belt. You can have as many or as little floats as you need and it’s just that little bit of encouragement. To be honest if you want your child to swim at that age it would be better if you did use something like that to help. This is my opinion and it’s my own personal view and my advice to you but at the end of the day you must do what you think is suitable for your child. But it won’t hurt to see how it goes and if it doesn’t work then try something else.

I hope this is somehow useful to you and if you need anymore questions answered about teaching your son to swim then please get back in touch.......

Thanks again Dale :)

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