Though innocently disguised in bright reds and blues or patterns of flowers, water wings (also known as “floaties”) are one of the more dangerous “safety” devices and can actually hinder a child’s process of learning to swim. It is ironic, we know, that the flotation device you buy to keep your child above water can actually be a drowning hazard. But before you trust the blow up device you slip over your child’s arm, here are a few things to consider:
Water wings give parents a false sense of security. When children have on water wings, parents are less likely to watch their children swimming in the pool. However, water wings easily slip off a child’s arm because they are not secured to their body, and accidents can happen when parents are not attentive.
Water wings are also not well designed to keep a child upright. If the water wings shift slightly or a child gets off balance while wearing them, the flotation device can actually keep a child face down in the water. Because the water wings limit a child’s range of motion, it is difficult for children to get themselves upright again.
Water wings give a child confidence in the water that the child associates with their ability to swim rather than the flotation device keeping them above water. Even when they are not wearing the water wings, they oftentimes still believe they can swim and will attempt to do so without supervision.
Water wings force children into a vertical position, but people are most buoyant when they are horizontal in the water. The help of the flotation device takes away the ability for a child to feel their body float naturally in the water.
Water wings can stunt a child’s process of learning how to swim. Because they give children false confidence and force their body into positions that are unnatural in the water, it can be difficult to re-teach them a healthy relationship with the water.
Though we know it is tempting to throw some water wings on the kids and let them move freely about the pool, it is not worth the risk of drowning. When enjoying a day in the pool, avoid the water wings by swimming with the kids or getting them into swim lessons early. In instances where a flotation device is absolutely necessary (such as a lake), use a life vest instead of water wings. There are so many ways for you and your children to enjoy the water, even without the water wings, so we hope to see you out in the pool this summer!
You are helping your kids learn water safety and develop a love of swimming by having them in swim lessons, but did you know that swimming also offers you some awesome health benefits? We are so excited that you are setting your children up for a lifetime of loving the water, and we want to share with you some of the benefits that you can gain by getting in the water too:
Swimming is a lifelong sport. Unlike football, running, and other “land” sports that become hard on your body over time, swimming is a sustainable activity that can be continued over the course of your lifetime. People into their nineties have been known to swim for exercise, so you can too!
Swimming is low impact, meaning it is easy on your skeletal system and joints because the water supports much of your weight (up to 90%!). Because of the way the water carries your body, swimming is good for people of differing ages and weights and is a good recovery activity for those healing from injuries.
Swimming is dynamic and can be tailored to your athletic abilities. For a high-intensive cardio workout, swim sets can be fast-paced to increase your heart rate. If you are just getting back into shape, laps can be done at a slow place while still building muscle and increasing heart rate. Water aerobics also offers an activity that takes weight off of joints while still getting people moving!
Swimming builds and tones muscle through the resistance of the water. Though the water allows for an activity that is low-impact, the water’s resistance engages all the muscles in your body to build full-body strength and tone your muscles. Who doesn’t want a little extra muscle in their abs, back, arms and legs?
Swimming is just all around healthy! Because swimming is an aerobic exercise, it will lead to a healthier heart if done on a regular basis. And like other physical activity, it lowers cholesterol and lowers your chances of getting diabetes. It also decreases your stress and increases your spirits through the releasing of endorphins!
If you haven’t tried swimming for exercise, now is a great time to start! Check out 100 Swimming Workouts for ideas on some good workouts, EnduranceWorks for some videos of different swimming drills, U.S. Masters Swimming for masters team options, or see a local gym for different swimming programs they might offer. Whatever your swimming abilities and background, find a pool and start swimming!