We understand as a survival swim school our responsibility to provide children in the community with not only the life-saving skills necessary to survive in the water, but to provide them with a deep love and appreciation for the water. So what is wrong with Puddle Jumpers? They are coast guard approved and designed to keep your child safer in the water…but do they!? It is important to us to provide valuable information about the dangers of these devices and how they can negatively affect a child’s experience in the water.
Incorrect and Ineffective Posture
Puddle Jumpers and floaties are notorious for helping children develop ineffective swimming posture. They are subconsciously training children to be in an upright and vertical position in the water- head up, feet down, arms out. This causes them to use more of a bicycling motion kick under the water. Young children believe this is how they “swim”, they do not understand nor have the cognitive ability to recognize that without this device, they would not be able to swim in this position. What many people don’t understand is that the vertical positioning is in fact the drowning position.
Being able to maintain your own buoyancy the ability to float on your back, is the number one rule when an issue arises in the water. It’s imperative that a child knows how to successfully get to and hold this position should they fall into the water unexpectedly.
Puddle Jumpers Create a False Sense of Security
Children who spend most of their time swimming in the pool with puddle jumpers or floaties believe they are swimming unassisted. When a child feels comfortable in the water, when they feel safe, it creates a sense of security. They develop confidence. They are having fun “floating” around the pool and these devices help them believe they can “swim”. They have a feeling of being safer than they really are because without this device, they would not be able to swim independently in the pool. Young children do not have the cognitive capability to understand that they need to device to float in the pool.
Herein lies the problem…
Even when the child is NOT wearing the puddle jumper, they are now conditioned to believe that not only can they swim alone in the pool, but that they are supposed to do so in an upright position. Both of these are very dangerous. There have been way too many documented horror stories from parents who have shared there own experiences with their child going back info the water unattended and alone because they thought they could swim.
There is No Alternative to Knowing How to Swim
Respecting the water and fearing the water are two very different things. Teaching our children from a young age, even infants, the proper skills necessary, as well as them understanding their limitations, not only creates strong swimmers, but respectful ones as well. Enrolling your child in swimming lessons provides them with confidence, a life-saving skill set, and a lifelong love of the water.
Relying on the use of puddle jumpers and floaties is not a replacement for swim lessons.
Child drownings don’t discriminate. They can affect any one of use at anytime. Providing children with the proper skill set by trained professionals beginning at a young age will give them the tools necessary to survive and thrive, in the water.