Whether you are thinking ahead to a holiday by the pool, or local swimming lessons, you might be interested in some top tips when it comes to purchasing swimming aids for toddlers or babies. It isn’t just about cute designs and fun colours, you need to consider some important safety elements too.
THE KEY TO BABY FLOAT SAFETY
The number one thing to bear in mind, no matter what sort of childrens swimming aids you might have purchased, is to never leave a child unsupervised in their pool float. It only takes a back to be turned for one second for a situation to turn tragic. This is also why you should be sure to look for a float that will keep your baby in an upright position, and is unlikely to deflate or capsize. Seat straps and safety valves are also good to look out for.
NECK FLOATS: A FUN INNOVATION OR A DEATH TRAP?
The type of float you use also plays an important part in how safe it might be for your baby. Last summer saw a trend of “neck floats” for babies and young toddlers. This type of water float sparked some intense debates and controversy over whether it was safe to use or not. For those of you not in the know, as the name would suggest, neck floats are inflatable rings that are placed around your baby’s neck, allowing them free reign to explore the water with their arms and legs. Neck floats purportedly encourage muscle co-ordination and ease digestion. But are they safe?
Some paediatricians do agree that neck floats encourage muscle development in young toddlers, but not everyone is so supportive. Kyran Quinlan, an Associate Professor of Paediatrics, has said on the matter “Neck floats for babies scare me to death, and I hope they scare parents.” The main fear appears to be that the floats could easily deflate, leaving your baby in a dangerous and potentially life-threatening situation.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER:
Some baby pool floats have canopies attached to them in order to keep your baby in the shade. This is particularly useful if you will be using them in a sunny climate, although always remember that experts advise you to keep little ones under the age of 6 months out of direct sunlight altogether. After then, lather you baby in sun screen and pop them in a well-shaded water float!
Also check that your float is well made, this comes after some floats sold on eBay had to be recalled when they did not meet safety standards when customers worryingly reported seams bursting. It is also important to check comfort when buying kids arm bands as these can often rub and irritate the skin.