If you’re headed off for vacation or the beach, or you’re setting up a backyard pool, you’ll need to make sure your kids are well equipped for swimming. Whatever their skill level might be, the right gear can help your kids have more fun and give you better peace of mind. With so many choices on the market, there are three essentials to consider.
Floaties are never a substitute for careful adult supervision, but they can give kids and parents more confidence in and around the water. The most popular type consists of a vest with attached buoyant armbands. These tend to be more secure than the separate inflatable armbands.
The backpack-type floatie is a great alternative for older toddlers and preschoolers. It fastens around the waist and sits on the back, allowing the child’s arms to be free. Swim vests that zip or buckle are also good choices for older kids.
Goggles are important protective gear for swimming in a chlorinated pool. Chlorine tends to dry out eyes and can cause redness and burning, especially with older kids who love to dive under the water. Goggles help prevent eye irritation when swimming.
The best goggles to buy are those your child will willingly wear. They should fit snugly, but they should also be comfortable. Most come with an adjustable elastic band, but also look at how they fit around the eyes. They should be big enough so your kids can blink without their eyelashes hitting the plastic.
Kickboards are both fun and educational. Kids as young as two years old can take the first steps in learning to swim. Holding on to the kickboard gives them the floatation support needed to master alternating leg kicks. Kicking from one end of the pool to the other builds muscles and coordination. Kids can also learn to float by using a kickboard. As they become more confident, they can gradually move their arms down the kickboard until they are holding only the edge. For back floating, your child can hug the kickboard to their tummy.
As your child grows in size and skills, you’ll likely accumulate an array of pool gear and toys for fun, safety, and training. But these three pieces of equipment—floaties, goggles, and kickboards—will give you and your child a solid start in learning to love swimming.
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