Now that summer's here, having a quick dip in the pool is always a fun way to cool down. If you have kids though, you'll want to make sure they stay safe in the water. Whether you're introducing a toddler to the pleasures of swimming for the first time or you have an older child who's confident splashing about, a swimming aid is an essential product that'll keep your little one safe.
As there’s a wide range of swimming and buoyancy aids available online, we’ve pulled together a collection of the best ones to buy at Amazon, eBay, and Argos. Our list features jackets, inflatable armbands, discs, and everything in-between, from popular brands such as Zoggs, Speedo, and more. Ready to dive in?
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Table of Contents
We understand that knowing which features you’re looking for in a swimming aid can be confusing. So to make things easier, this section will cover the main factors that you should consider when shopping.
Swimming aids come in different sizes, and each manufacturer will provide a recommended age category for their product. This is the first thing you should check before buying a swimming aid, as if it's too big then your child could potentially slip out of it in the water and get into difficulty. Always follow the size guidelines specified on the packaging to make sure you get the best fit for your little one.
Next, let's look at the different types of swimming aids that are available. These include everything from vests and fins to rings and floats - but which one will be best for your child? Read on to find out all about the pros and cons of each!
Swim vests and float suits encourage a natural swimming position and are the least bulky option available. Older children with experience in the water will benefit from this style of swimming aid much more than armbands, as armbands are restrictive whereas a vest or suit allows for a full range of movement.
Some vests and suits even offer UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) which blocks the sun's rays from reaching your child's skin. Plus, because they're worn like a lifejacket, they offer some warmth from cold water if your little one is splashing around at home rather than in a heated pool.
Swim fins, which are worn on the back, are also becoming more popular as they too encourage swimming in a more natural position - and they're a fun option if your kid wants to feel like a shark! However, as they are attached by straps, they don’t offer any UPF or warmth like a vest does.
Foam discs (which are also worn on the upper arms) are more adaptable, as they come in different levels of buoyancy and you can remove discs as your child becomes more confident. They're really durable and because they're not inflatable, there's no risk of them deflating in the water. While they have a soft inner foam cuff to keep them on your child's arms, some kids may find them uncomfortable to wear.
Swim rings are another popular choice and, like armbands, they are inexpensive and deflate easily for convenience. The major safety consideration with these, however, is that it is easy for your child to slip though them and under the water - so they must only be used with very close adult supervision.
Floats are relaxing and comfortable, making them the best choice for parents with very young babies who are just getting used to the pool. The baby sits inside the float with support between their legs, and this allows them to float around and kick their legs freely in the water.
As with all of the swimming aids mentioned, you'll need to supervise your little one closely when using a float to make sure that they don't end up wriggling out of it or capsizing in the water!
Non-return air valves are small valves that stop air from escaping even before the stopper is placed on the opening during the inflation process. This means that if the stopper somehow comes loose when the product is in use, air cannot flow out and cause a loss of buoyancy. To let air back out when you're deflating the aid, you'll also need to squeeze the base of the valve to open it and allow the air to escape.
Lastly, swimming aids that are worn around the chest can be fitted with either a strap with a buckle or a zip with a cover that keeps the zip runner hidden. These are designed to make it as difficult as possible for your child to remove the aid themselves, which is essential when it comes to safety in the pool!
Children are usually very reluctant to wear cumbersome safety equipment, so choosing a swimming aid with the right design can help you win the battle when it comes to keeping them on! Opt for a product in their favourite colour or with a fun cartoon character if you want to make your little one proud to wear their safety gear.
On a more practical note, bright colours and patterns can also make it easier for you to keep an eye on kids in the pool, as they'll stand out against the water.
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Unisex Kids Under The Sea Floatsuit
Fully Adjustable, With Added Sun Protection
Fin Swimming Aid
An Innovative, Slip-Proof Float
Puddle Jumper - Red Pirate
The Perfect Pick for Little Pirates
Pink Swim Jacket
A Puncture-Proof Jacket That Fastens Securely
Designed to Build Your Baby's Confidence in the Pool
Paw Patrol Skye Swim Vest
Take to the Water With This Cute and Comfy Vest
Kids' Batman Inflatable Armbands
Even the Dark Knight Needs to Learn to Swim!
Swimming Pool Float Armbands
Give Your Baby Some Brightly Coloured Water Wings
Eye-Catching Discs That Adapt as Your Child Gains Confidence
A Float to Encourage Free Kicking in the Water
This all-over float suit will inspire confidence in your budding water adventurer while holding them in the correct position for swimming. The adjustable 16-piece buoyancy system allows you to add or remove floats to get the perfect level of support in the water.
This award-winning product has UPF 50+ protection coupled with neck, arm, and leg coverage, in order to keep your little one safe in the sun as well as the water. Loved by both kids and parents alike, it's no surprise that this amazing suit is top of our list!
How cool is this foam fin design? It's bound to give your child hours of fun, tearing through the water doing their best shark impression and scaring off other visitors to the pool!
As the fin sits above the water, leaving your kid's arms and legs free, it naturally adjusts to your their swimming ability and allows them to support their own weight. It's also slip-proof, providing that the straps are positioned properly.
If your little sea dog needs to abandon ship or walk the plank, they'll need this stylish swim jumper to keep them out of Davy Jones' locker! Made from soft polyester, it's snug and helps to hold your child in a natural swimming position.
Although this is a bit of a bulky purchase - especially if you're planning to take it on holiday - it's brilliant at keeping kids afloat. Best of all, it has the added security of a buckle that fastens around the back, which your child can't undo and remove on their own.
This soft neoprene jacket offers freedom of movement in the water, as well as having a bright design that's bound to appeal to your child. The strong zip features a cover when the jacket is fastened, which will deter your little one from trying to undo it.
As this product is totally puncture-proof, you don't have to worry about any mishaps in the water. The only downside is that the buoyancy is fixed, meaning that you can't adjust it as your child's swimming ability improves. It's a fantastic buy for young swimmers though!
This swim seat provides the utmost stability, so your baby can enjoy the experience of splashing around - even if they're only a few months old! Allowing their legs to kick freely in the pool will build confidence and give their leg muscles some exercise. You'll be pleased to know that it's made with child-safe, low phthalate PVC too.
Just be aware that this product is meant for use in shallow water and should always be closely supervised, to make sure that your baby is never out of their depth.
This swim vest with permanent foam inserts is a secure and supportive choice for kids who are just starting to get used to being in the water. Its funky pink design is sure to be appealing to mini Paw Patrol fans, and it's incredibly soft and comfy to wear.
The safety closure on the zip will prevent any mishaps, and there's an adjustable strap that goes between your little one's legs, ensuring that the vest stays put and doesn't ride up in the water.
If your kid loves the ever-popular DC hero Batman, they'll jump at the chance to wear these cool armbands when splashing about! They feature dual air chambers to keep your mind at ease, and easy inflate valves which allow for 50% quicker inflation when compared to other armbands.
Zoggs also has other Batman-branded swimming accessories in its range, such as goggles and swimming caps - so why not treat your little one to the whole set? Just be aware that you're paying a premium for the design, as similar non-DC branded products are available at a lower price.
These armbands by Zoggs feature a flat underarm gusset to make them comfortable to wear, and the bright orange design will keep your child visible in the water. They're also made from sturdy Vylux which doesn't tear or puncture easily, no matter how active your kid gets in the pool!
The buoyancy can be adjusted too as your little one gets older or as their confidence improves, but size-wise these armbands will only really fit kids up to the age of about 6 years old.
These aids worn on the upper arms are made from a solid foam-like material, meaning that there's no risk of them deflating while being used. The discs click together so you can adjust the buoyancy to suit your child's ability, which is always handy!
While these are the aid of choice for many swimming instructors, they can be uncomfortable to wear. As they hold your child in a more upright position in the water, they may also make the transition to swimming unaided a bit trickier.
This ring, which is designed to be worn around the waist, is perfect for encouraging smaller children to kick around in the water. It has dual air chambers and it's made from durable material that won't tear or puncture.
Unfortunately, the design also means that it's easy for your child to slip through the middle of the ring and under the water, so make sure you're keeping an eye on your child if they're using this product.
A swimming aid is a piece of equipment, such as a vest, ring, float, or armbands, that will help your child to stay afloat in the water, and thus helping to build their swimming confidence. However, it's important to be aware that it is not a lifejacket and does not prevent drowning.
Children using a swimming aid should therefore always be supervised by an adult, in order to make sure that they stay safe in the water.
Now you know your child is happy to float around in the water, why not check out the links below for other pool-related products that they might need? We've got recommendations for kids' swimming goggles and even baby towels, to help dry your little one off after splashing around!
Buying the right swimming aid for your child is the key to helping them learn how to be safe in the water and to develop confidence. Not only is swimming a great form of exercise and an essential life skill, it's also a huge amount of fun!
Author: Catherine Torrance
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