22 answers

What Floaties Do You Recommend?

What kind of floaties should I use this summer? Thanks for the help.

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The Learn to Swim yellow vest by Aqua Swim School worked best for my two year old last year. We bought it at the grocery store. :) It is fantastic, they can wear it all day, it is light and dries easily.

What you need to do is get the 3 1/2 year old in lessons until she can swim. A lot of kids can swim by the time they are 4 if they have a lot of swim lessons (and some even take to it immediately and can swim by 3 years old). Next, floaties from Target work just fine. I have used them and they work good.

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Hi M.,

Super Soft are the best out there and they are coast guard approved. They are quite expensive ($40-$60 each) but I have had mine for 3 years and it works great. I bought another one last year for my son on Craig's List for $10. So search around. Once the kids try them, they take a little getting used to, but once they got it...they will feel more independent.

Your very best option is to enroll them in swimming lessons, pronto. A former lifeguard/swim instructor told me to never use floaties and we did take that advice. We enrolled our daughter in two sessions of swim lessons last summer and by the end of the first session, she was pretty much swimming. By the end of the second session, she was swimming across a high school pool (at 4 years old). I will say that if you choose private lessons, verus group, the process of learning to swim will progress much more quickly. We did group lessons first, then private next. I definitely think that the additional money spent for the private lessons was sooo worth it as far as results go. Nothing better than one-on-one instruction.

Hello, All of our grandsons used floaties and now they are all very good swimmers. I used to take all of them to the pool. Anyone who wasn't a swimmer HAD to wear them. Now I have an 18 month old grandaughter and she will also wear them. We have a "baby pool" by our regular one, but they can be so fast when you try to check on each of them that I need to have the extra safety. I haven't bought them for my grandaughter yet, but it seems to me that the brand we used was Safety 1st. We have also used the slip over vests and have had good luck with them. We never take our eyes off of them, but I feel better having the extra help.
Good luck with your precious little girls.
K. K.


Sorry for the super long link, but I highly recommend something like this. My daughter took swimming lessons and this is what was recommended to us by the instructor. He told us that arm floaties kind of "suspend" the child vertically, while the belt put them in more of a "swimming" position :)

We bought one that is adjustable by "level" (it has 3 foam blocks, and as the child gets a bit better, you take one off and they have to kick a bit harder... So it makes it more of a gradual transition - going from flotation device to none).

PS- We tried a life vest with my daughter once at a pool where they wouldn't allow us to use anything but THEIR life vests, and my daughter HATED it. IT restricted her movement and it kept floating up into her face. With the belt, she does AMAZING. Can swim from one side of a pool to the other with ease, comfort, and safety.

1st I reccomend swimmong lessons. lots of them.

I had a vest that was great. I can not remember who made it...safety 1st? it had stretchy strings on the side so if fit snug. and it was smallish.

I have 5 yo son and an almost 3 yo daughter. Our home has a pool, so I know your concerns quite well. One Mom, two kids running opposite directions in the pool. Last year was the first time we needed to buy a Speedo life jacket for my son. Before then he was the only child, or liked being in the infant floater mesh circle things. We tried out two different styles of the Speedo. The first was the one where the floatie pads went all the way up the shoulder. It would rise up and rub his neck and cheeks raw, even with the crotch strap. The second was the one where the float pads came just up to the breastbone and had nylon fabric up to the shoulder. That worked great for him once he figured out how to balance his body in it. I kept it for my daughter to use this year.

I also highly recommend taking your kids for swim lessons. I spend every summer teaching my kids in our own pool, but this year they will both be going to the YMCA for swim lessons. I want them to be comfortable swimming in any setting, especially an emergency situation. Or check out your local city classes.

I would go the life jacket way.I use them for all 3 of my kids..7,4,and 1yr.they work great and never had any kind of "underwater" accident.My girls had the jackets with barbie and dora design from walmart..as long as they are approved they should be fine :) good luck and have fun :)

I am seasonally employed as a Recreation Specialist, managing WSI-trained lifeguards during the summer months. I do NOT recommend the traditional "inflatable floaties", especially at the beach where there is a tide and waves. It sounds like you're already thinking this, and leaning towards a life jacket, which are the safest option for your children. Please, whichever model you select, ensure that it is US Coast Guard approved by searching for a seal on the inside of the vest/device near the weight guidelines, for these are the safest devices to use in all waters. If you're looking for something that is like a traditional "floatie", you can try this: Last summer, the Stearns brand began promoting their newest line of flotation gear, the Puddle Jumper. It resembles a half-jacket and arm floaters combined into one product, without actually being inflatable (the key when choosing a product!). The smallest size is for children who weigh 30lbs. These are sold at Walmart and Target in the summer months, and I know you can order them online as well, from those stores and Amazon.
Good luck with your choice! :)

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