The dog days of summer are here, and getting your kids to a pool is a great way to cool off and burn off some energy! One of the smartest things you can do as a parent is to teach your child to swim. But if they can't swim, it's important that you employ safe pool practices.
Right here in Perry Hall, Mommy and Me lessons begin as early as age 3 months at Kids First Swim School. And while they may not be doing the butterfly stroke by the time they are 6 months, having confidence in the water goes a long way toward pool safety. Experts agree that early introduction can ease your children’s fear around water and it could even save their lives!
Safety devices are another precaution, but what are some of the best on the market?
When my oldest was a toddler, there seemed to be nothing that fit him properly which allowed him the independence to play freely in the pool—without Mommy hanging all over him. Surely when he was an infant, I had the cute little boat with canopy top. And while they are a little controversial regarding safety, I was always within arm’s reach, and his safety was never in jeopardy.
But as a toddler, I tried every product on the market, from a life jacket, to water wings (which were banned from our pool), to a swim sweater. Nothing seemed to give him the freedom he wanted. He just wanted to swim and play, he didn’t want Mommy cramping his style. That summer I probably spent well over $150 trying products to find something that worked for us.
We eventually settled on a swim trainer, but he screamed every time I had to put it on him. And it was less than ideal, because he was too young to understand that he needed to kick, kick, kick, to keep his head above water. It was a frustrating summer.
Last summer, when my other son became a toddler, I discovered something called a puddle jumper. This has got to be one of the most ingenious products ever invented. It’s U.S. Coast Guard approved and allowed at every public pool we’ve attended.
It’s so simple, it looks like a set of water wings, with a flexible strap across the child’s chest. The combination keeps the child from falling forward face first in the water. It took my 18-month-old less than 15 minutes to figure it out. Now every time he sees it in the car, he yells: “Pool, Mommy, pool!"
The product is designed for children ages 3 and up (30-50 pounds), and this floatation device which will only set you back about $20. It fit my then-18-month-old, and still fits my 2.5-year-old (now 28 pounds). It even fits my 5 year old (45 pounds), when we’re swimming in the bay, where I’m less confident of his swimming abilities.
If you’re struggling with what to do with your young child who has not yet mastered the art of swimming, consider a puddle jumper over a traditional life jacket. Your children will like the freedom, and you’ll love knowing they are in a safe device designed to keep their heads above water.
So, obviously I'm a big fan of the puddle jumper, but what works well for your family? Is your toddler struggling to be a big kid in the pool, but held back by their inability to swim? Tell us in the comments.