Summer is well and truly here and the summer holidays are just around the corner. Are you going on holiday?
If you are lucky enough to be spending some time at the seaside or relaxing (Or attempting to relax!) by a pool with children it might be worth considering swimming aids. Not only do they help children to feel more confident in the water and help them to swim, but (under supervision) they can keep children safer in the water. *
Swimming aids aren’t just for babies, toddler and young children they can be of benefit to older children too, for example some children with special educational needs who may love the water but not be able to swim yet. In my opinion, chosen correctly swimming aids can be useful resources to enable children to be more fully included in a family holiday.
Before researching this post I naively thought arm bands were the only real option, but it’s been refreshing to discover that there are plenty of different aids now to help and support a range of abilities and ages. We’ve been trying a few different swimming aids out and here are our favourites.
Arm Bands– As I’ve said, these are no longer the only option for swimming aids…but I don’t want to downplay their effectiveness. As let’s face it, there must be a reason they’ve been synonymous with learning to swim for so long! Not only do they provide parents and children with the confidence that the child can float, but they can be great value and quick and easy to pop on. They also stay on most children! Arms bands aren’t just for babies and toddlers, we particularly like the Zoggs ones and for this type you can buy the Zoggs Children’s Safe Float Arm Bands – Orange, 1-3 Years up to 15 kg or for older children the Zoggs Swimming Aid Children’s Easy Inflate and Trade Roll-Ups – Orange, 6-12 Years
We bought the plain orange ones but there are some exciting designs, still by Zoggs including these superhero ones
– Swim Discs– If you like the security that arm bands provide for a child but would prefer something that allows them to move them arms a bit easier, these Swim Discs by Delphin might be worth a try. Like inflatable arm bands, they go round the arms- but the main differences are you don’t need to inflate them and you can increase and decrease the number of discs per arm depending on the child’s ability and confidence to swim. For example, you could start with 2 discs per arm and then as they get more confident at swimming, go down to 1 disc and then potentially none!
Aquaplane– We’ve recently discovered Aquaplane, a multi-use swimming aid that has been endorsed by Olympic and Commonwealth Swimmers and we think it looks fantastic. To start with it’s worn on the back of the child to keep them buoyant and allow for full movement of their arms and legs, then as the child gains confidence you remove the adjustable straps and can use the Aquaplane as a kick board to hold onto.
Swim Vests– These have been a game changer for us and I can’t stress how brilliant I think they are. Again they aren’t just for young children either. There’s various different types of swim vests available but the general idea is that the vest provides confidence to the child and their parents that they can float*, whilst freeing the child’s arms up completely. We found them fantastic for learning to swim. Our favourites are the Decathalon Soft Foam Swim Vest and the Original Konfidence Swim Jacket.
Decathalon’s Soft Foam Swim Vest– We found this great for kids who feel happy in the water with arm bands but could benefit from having their arms and shoulders freed up in order to practise swimming. It puts the child just on the surface of the water so they don’t float as much as arm bands so initially the child found it a bit trickier but within minutes they got the hang of it and loved it. We genuinely noticed a real improvement in swimming within just one swimming session using this. They also loved the bright colours!
It’s made of Neoprene so keeps kids warm and I’ve been informed is very comfy! It has 8 floats securely inside the jacket and what’s great is you can remove them (in pairs) as the child’s confidence and ability develops until you have no floats inside and the child is able to swim independently. Fantastic to have a adjustable swimming aid.
We loved the confidence it gave us as parents to allow our child a little bit more freedom in the water to practise swimming with their arms free. They really enjoyed it and made huge improvements in their swimming, we’ve never spent so long in the pool! We are also big fans of the bright yellow reverse of the jacket- great for spotting kids easily! We have the jacket for 4-5 year olds but they also sell youth jackets herefor older children aged up to 14.
*Please note we take no responsibility for the safety of these swimming aids for children and children should always be within their depth and directly supervised by a responsible adult in water.
* Please also note we were sent some samples for review and all opinions are our own.