Floaties – Helpful or Harmful?

By Taja McNeal May 27, 2019 , , ,


Many parents believe that putting their children in inflatable flotation devices will help improve water safety. However, these devices can actually pose safety threats to young children in the water. Water wings, swim rings, pool noodles, and other similar inflatable devices can cause tragedy in the pool. It’s a good idea for your facility for educate guests about the dangers of floaties, and suggest some safer alternatives.

Dangers of Floaties

Floaties seem like they would help improve the safety of children. However, the truth about floaties is quite the opposite. These devices bring multiple threats to the safety of pool guests.

Children Can Slip Out

One concern generated by floaties, like water wings and swim rings, is that a child could potentially slip out of them. A child who slips out of a floaty and into the water can quickly face a dangerous situation. Many times parents opt to use floaties for children whose swimming skills are not yet fully developed. Therefore, a child who slips out of a floaty has the unfortunate risk of a possible drowning.

Floaties Can Get Punctured

Floaties are made out of material that can easily get punctured. If these devices are popped or punctured, they will no longer have the ability to keep children afloat. Floaties that pop in the pool will immediately cause its user to sink. Additionally, floaties that get unknowingly punctured outside of the pool also cause a threat. Children put in the pool with punctured inflatable devices will slowly sink into the water as the device slowly loses air.

Floaties Can Make Parents Less Observant

Oftentimes, when children are wearing floaties in the pool, parents are more at ease and therefore less observant. Parents may get the notion that their child is safe in the pool as long as they’re wearing a floaty even if the child’s swimming skills aren’t fully developed. If anything goes awry with the floaty while the parent isn’t paying attention, the child could be in serious danger.

Improper Swimming Habits are Obtained

Water wings teach kids improper swimming habits. Instead of the correct horizontal swimming posture, water wings teach children an improper vertical position. In addition, these devices make learning how to back-float more difficult for children. An important water safety skill for children learning is to feel comfortable rolling on their backs and floating. This skill could help dissolve a dangerous, and unexpected situation in the water.

Floaties also instill a false sense of confidence in children learning to swim. A child may think they have mastered swimming, but in fact perhaps would not be able to stay afloat without the assistance of a floaty.

Best Flotation Devices

Instead of opting for inflatable pool aids, parents should reach for a US Coast Guard approved device. Many of these approved swimming aids are life jackets. These US Coast Guard approved life preservers are every parent’s best bet to ensure water safety for their children. There are 5 types of US Coast Guard approved life preservers. Only types II, III, and V are available in children’s sizes. Most of these life preservers range in price from about $20-$80 depending on the brand and size.

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For years floaties have been viewed as water safety aids, but it’s time to rethink and reapproach this subject. Floaties have the potential to cause more harm than safety. Your facility should educate guests on the dangers of floaties and US Coast Guard approved alternatives. You can learn more details about each US Coast Guard approved life jacket here.