With summer in full swing, families every are hitting the pool, lake, and river for some fun in the sun. But with all that outdoor fun this summer comes a lot of worry! As parents, we have to think about sunscreen, bug bites, scraped knees, and water safety. Sure, we want to make sure our kiddos are having a lot of fun, but we also want to make sure they're protected! When it comes to water safety, there are a lot of options out there for little swimmers and non-swimmers. But there's one floatation device recommended by water safety experts everywhere: a puddle jumper.
Puddle jumpers are the floaties that go around a child's chest and upper arms. Unlike the arm floaties we all grew up with, a puddle jumper centers a child in the water, so they're better able to hold their heads and faces up. They also have a better range of motion, so they can swim using their arms and legs. But the number one reason puddle jumpers are the safest floatation device for swimming kiddos: they can't get them off! Those arm floaties can slip off, which could put a child in danger if it happens in the water. This is why puddle jumpers are recommended by water safety experts and even the Coast Guard.
But, a puddle jumper shouldn't be worn 100% of the time in a pool, even if your child can't swim. Jim Spiers is the founder of SwimJim in New York and Texas and the president of Stop Drowning Now. He recommends having the floatation device on for about 50% of the time the child is in the water, and keeping it off for the other half. A puddle jumper can create a false sense of security for kids and parents, and they might start to think the child can swim even when they can't.
In addition to using a safe, reliable floatation device, parents should always stay within an arm's length away from any non-swimmer in any body of water. And remember, a puddle jumper or other floatation device could never take the place of giving your child your undivided attention when they're in the water.