What's best for a 3 year old in the pool?

blackcat333May 27, 2004

For the past 2 summers we've used floating boats in the pool, but this year I want something to give my daughter a little more freedom. We may try swimming lessons next summer, but what's best now? Life vests made for the pool?

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I'm sorry you haven't gotten a response yet. This board moves very slow. All the experts, from pediatrician to swim teacher, said that floats or water wings or other things are a false sense of security because they are not made to be independent 'life preservers'. Often the child sees the older kids jump in and does so, without the float because he/she doesn't realize yet that the float is what has kept them above water. The other thing that happens is they jump in while wearing them and they slip off (the 'water wings' tend to slip off when a child jumps in feet first).

Please take the time to get swim lessons. When you say 'next summer' do you mean 2005? Do it now. They can start learning at infancy. My nephew could swim like baby Tarzan at 1 year old; if he fell in he knew how to float on his back and save himself. (They live in FL and everyone's house has a pool so it was crucial).

Otherwise, keep the child in a life vest or always be by their side in or near the water. But the best thing is to start lessons right away.

My DD's first lessons entailed learning how to jump in, how to get to the side and how to get out on the poolside without the ladder using her elbows and knees. Only AFTER that was when they started teaching actual swim techniques.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2004 at 2:35PM
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Thanks for the response. I was hoping someone would have advice on life vests, etc. I've gotten swimming aids in the past which, when put on my daughter, I thought were still too dangerous. I was considering a life vest, so I think I will just try one and see how it does.

I agree about the water wings and floaties.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2004 at 9:52AM
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We bought our son, then 1.5 years old, a life vest that was for children up to 30 pounds. I think it was $20 or $30 at an outdoor store. (Bass Pro Shop, actually.) I thought it would give him a bit of 'freedom' in the pool, while still being in our arms. He hated the crouch straps and would freak out anytime we put it on him. He still fits in it this year, but we haven't tried it on him. I have seen 'swimsuits' that have built in floatation devices. I think Target sells them, as does One Step Ahead (mail-order catalog.) Two of my neighbors swear by them, but I haven't tried one for my son. One thing about a life vest is that for small children, they are designed to flip the child onto their back and keep their head up out of water - the swimsuits don't so even if the child is floating, their head may not be up. ~ Suzie

    Bookmark   June 7, 2004 at 11:54PM
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My little ones LOVE their life jackets. My kids are 1, 3, 5 and 7.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2004 at 12:40PM
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Just FYI, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that swimming lessons not be started until the child is four years old. Of course, classes where kids become used to the water are fine.

Obviously, there are some children who are ready earlier, this is just a guideline.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2004 at 2:16AM
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With my 4yr old, I think 4 is a good age for lessons. A big difference from last year at this time. Better listening skills, more apt to WANT to swim.

We have an easy set pool in our backyard w/a gate around it, so she's not swimming unless I am. I found the wings to work good for this, because I could go under water and she would be safe enough for that little while. Now the vests are good, but a friend of mine has those for her kids and those floaties inside the suit float up, so they're kinda buried between them in their suit. I didn't like that, so I stick w/the wings. Now the water is neck deep and her and I can go in the water w/out the wings and she gets more confidence on her own. Probably why 4 is a good age for lessons.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2004 at 11:32PM
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I knew of the AAP recommendation, and my daughter will be 4 next June so I had planned to let her take lessons then. Neither of us were ready for them this year!

We ended up with a suit by Speedo that has the floatation inserts. I wasn't too happy with it because it seemed she could pitch forward and her face go under. Someone also gave her one of those tank suits with the inner tube sewn in. Not great either because the tube floats up. We had a floating turtle, too. I ended up holding her most of the time. I was hoping something would give better support so I could stay right there but she'd feel like she had more freedom.

Haven't spent much time in the pool this summer because it hasn't been very hot.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 8:41PM
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Here is some advice from someone who never paid for swim lessons or read anything on safety. I watched 12 nieces and nephews learn to swim and now my own 4 just with family help. They all used wings. Here in Phoenix, we get a lot of swim time!LOL!

What I discovered was that the wings worked fine for all of them. However, few of the overzealous ones loves to jump off the edge and, yes, the wings popped off. I switched to a life vest for this reason and it works great.

Three seemed to be the magic age for my kids. They all learned to swim without any floating device at this age. After awhile they do get tired and want their floaties back on.

NOTE: Kids don't drown because they fall into a pool. They drown because their is no one there to get them out!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2004 at 12:24PM
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All those floatie devices do give a false sense of security & you don't swim the same way with them so they don't often HELP them to learn to swim. While my daughter took swimming from age 8 wks you are not developmentally capable of learning to swim until I believe 2-1/2+ but it does make them comfortable in the water. It is cute watching an infant being able to have their head put under water without them swallowing water. It's a reflex at that age. Anyway b/c of separation anxiety we pulled my daughter out of swimming at uner 1 yr. We started a Y program which we hated & then we started again in Sept with private swim lessons. While she still can't swim yet she now loves going to class & has learned some good techniques. If only she'd put her head under water she might progress faster. I agree that one on one private lessons are the way to go.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2005 at 11:55PM
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i have a three yr old and just bought her a swimsuit that come with float boards sown in plus floaties for her arms.

lasy year i had this crazy contraption with all these belts, big nightmare to put on.

i have big deep pool in backyard and she has been swimming for as long as she has been alive. I have taught her instead of sending her to someone else

    Bookmark   April 23, 2005 at 4:13PM
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