The #1 Swim Toy to Avoid
When warm weather is around the corner, stores start filling their aisles with eye-catching, attention-grabbing, aqua-friendly toys. The swim aisle becomes a magnet to children and young shoppers who are eager for sunshine and splashing. Super soakers, relaxing loungers, pink flamingos, pineapple apparel, pool noodles and aquatic toys of every shape, size and color are available for poolside enjoyment. However, when it comes to pool toys, there is one swim toy you should avoid above all others.
Why to Avoid Water Wings and Floaties for Children
We are all familiar with the iconic inflatable floaties or inflatable water wings that are synonymous with toddlers, but these toys should be avoided. These floatation devices may, in fact, keep your children afloat, but as Kid Nurse Danielle Stringer states, “Parents want to keep their children safe in the water, but every time I go swimming, I see kids in the pool with one of the most dangerous swim toys. It makes me sad, nervous and completely on alert. If you own this toy, find it now, and promptly throw it away.”
The reasons these toys pose such a risk:
- They are easily removable. These toys can be quietly removed by young, ingenious tots who always seem to finanagle in or out of head-scratching scenarios.
- They provide a false sense of security. Water wings safety is falsely inflated. By keeping children afloat, these toys may give children a false sense of water safety and encourage them to be more courageous around water than their swimming skills allow. Additionally, parents may become falsely secure by the floatation of these toys and become less vigilant when supervising children in and around the water.
- They deflate easily. When it comes to floaties safety, these water wings can pop, spring a leak or open at the flimsy blow-up valve while young children are wearing them in the water.
- They prevent proper swimming techniques. The position and bulkiness of water wings can hinder children from learning the correct swimming techniques to keep them safe. According to Parents Magazine, “Floaties put kids’ bodies in a vertical position. In reality, though, bodies don’t stay upright in the water. Children accustomed to floaties must work extra hard to find the correct center of balance.”
Pool Toy Tips for Water Safety and Swim Safe Pool Floats
When it comes to pool toys and water accessories, we understand the appeal and fun that come with floating additions. However, when it comes to pool toys, it’s always important to be aware of the best water safety practices. Our Ultimate Guide to Pool Safety is full of facts to keep the overall pool experience safe, however, here are a few additional notes about safety when it comes to pool toys.
- Learn proper swimming technique so pool toys can be used for fun, not safety. The big, blow-up animals, festive food slices and colorful, glitter-filled tubes are made for confident swimmers and those with strong swimming skills. With classes available as early as four months old, infants, babies and toddlers have easy access to quality swim instruction.
- Use a U.S. Coast Guard approved life vest. If you need a life preserver for young swimmers who can not swim on their own yet, always use a floatation device approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. These devices are made to keep the wearer afloat even without swimming and the vests are designed to keep airways clear of water if the wearer becomes unconscious or injured.
- Always supervise children who are in or around water. Keep active eyes on swimmers (including strong swimmers) and stay within arm’s reach of non-swimmers, even when swim toys are present.
Aqua-Tots Approved Swim Toys
With proper supervision, swim toys can add an extra element of fun and can be used as great teaching tools. Many of our swim lesson accessories can be purchased and brought home to bring some of the Aqua-Tots fun to any pool (and the bathtub!). Look for these options at your neighborhood Aqua-Tots Swim Schools:
- Diving Rings
- Kick Boards
- Floating Foam Buddies
- Squishy Fishies
At Aqua-Tots Swim Schools, we’re all about safety and fun around the water. From swim lessons as early as 4 months old to pool toys that’ll keep young children safe, we’re all in this together.