7 answers

Swimming Gear for a 1 Year Old

OK moms, I have a 1 year old boy that is about 27 lbs, and really tall (not sure exactly how tall right now, but he has always been over the 95%). Anyway, we are planning on having lots of pool time this summer and I was wondering what some of the best swimming aids you have used for that age. He seems to big for one of those baby floats, he loves the water, and those look like he would only have his legs in there, but not be able to play in the water. But I wonder if he is old enough for some kind of life jacket, or swimsuit with the jacket built in?? I only worry that he could end up with his face in the water, and un able to get back up. Obviously I will always be with him, but we all know that it only takes a second for something to go wrong, so I want to feel safe and relaxed, and for him to have fun. Any ideas would be great!!! Thanks a bunch ~A.~

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The life jacket or swimsuit with the built in life jacket/flotation are really more for kids who have better muscle control (to keep themselves upright) than a typical one-yr-old would have. However, he's probably pushing the weight limit of the little floating baby seat. If it were me, I might put him in the floating baby seat, but also have him wear the swimsuit with built in flotation in case he tips it over (which he'd be more prone to do since he's big).

I have 2 young children less than a year apart and when they were both 1 y.o. I put arm floaties on them while in the pool. I had many people tell me many different things to try and I went out and bought them all but until they were closer to 3 they were not able to hold their heads up out of the water with any kind of life jacket system and they would just face plant unless I held them up. If I'd had to hold them all the time we wouldn't have been able to go swimming because I wouldn't have been able to handle two of them at once. The arm floaties worked wonderfully for us. I know that many people will tell you those aren't completely safe, but they worked for me because I knew it would keep their heads above water when nothing else would. And I was always in the water right next to them so if something did happen to a floatie I could fix it without any problem. And they could move around and have a really good time in the water with those as well. We use those yellow life jackets now that they're older but I'm hoping they are swimming without them before the summer is over.

And that other post was right, most swim teachers don't like you to use flotation devices of any kind because they make it difficult for the child to get horizontal in the water and they have a hard time adjusting their body position when they do start to learn how to swim properly. But unless you're ready to start that right now, I think you're probably okay with a flotation device at his young age.

Good luck.

I would recommend looking into ISR (infantswim.com). They recommend not using flotation devices. Your 1yo can learn to swim all by himself in the pool.

My 3 y/o has worn a one piece bathing suit/life vest for the last 2 years. he is #4 so keeping her out of the water was not really an option :-)
I found mine at the thrift store- paid $3.00 for a $20+ speedo w/ tags still on.


I wouldn't recommend the swimsuits with built floaties at all. Like someone else said, they're only for kids that actually kick their feet the whole time. They don't hold up at all unless they're able to control it somewhat. My son is almost 5 and still has a hard time in those things, even after swimming lessons. My daughter is 2 and has used arm floaties. They work good if you're holding her the whole time, other wise she'll sink right down. The only thing that my kids both felt comfortable with since they were a baby up until now is the small rings that fit around them. They can put their arms on each side and it'll hold them right up.

We found a short sleeve, short pant wetsuit by bodyglove for my son, which has the built in flotation in the chest & back and also blocks UV rays, etc. We use it at the lake all the time. I think we either got it at Target or Walmart. It works great.

We're looking into getting this for our 2 year old:


It's supposed to keep them from rolling over head down.

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