Floaties or water wings give both children and parents a false sense of security. Due to their rampant popularity, many parents consider these to be acceptable flotation devices for children who haven’t learned to swim yet. Sadly, they are not. In fact, they often cause more harm than good.
Both the Mayo Clinic and the CDC warn that water wings will not actually protect your child from drowning. The Mayo Clinic specifically states: “Do not rely on air-filled or foam toys, such as water wings, noodles or inner tubes, to keep children safe.” Water wings are also not a U.S. Coast Guard-approved device. Instead, purchase a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
At Life Saver Pool Fence, we couldn’t agree more. Instead of floaties, we recommend that parents invest in swimming lessons. It is one of the key layers of protection that can defend against drowning.
Here Are 4 Reasons Why Floaties Should Not Be Used:
Floaties Can Pop!
Water wings can easily pop, deflate, and even fall off of your child. If this does happen and the child has never swum on their own without water wings, they will most likely panic. This will greatly increase their risk of drowning. These water wings are made out of thin plastic. Over time, chances are high that they will pop at some point due to natural wear-and-tear.
Water Wings Provide a False Sense of Security
Parents should always actively supervise their children near any body of water. However, when a parent believes that water wings are keeping their child safe, their attention might stray a bit more easily. They may not be as focused on the pool area as they should be. Imagine quickly running to grab the phone moments before a child’s faulty flotation devices deflate. It happens, and that’s the point. This tragedy could occur at any second.
Floaties Don’t Teach Kids How To Float
Learning to float on your back is the first, and the most important, swimming lesson. Water wings keep children in a vertical position. This is not a natural swimming position. When someone does learn to swim, the prior use of water wings will make it more difficult because they are used to “swimming” in a vertical position.
Swimming Isn’t a Natural Ability
Contrary to popular believe, sink or swim is not a helpful saying! If a child wears water wings in the pool area, they may be convinced that they can swim when they cannot. The child may also ignore general water safety rules, thinking that it is okay for them to enter the water without an adult present. No matter what, caution must always be used.
Taking this a step further, these devices may even make a child defiant toward swimming lessons! Many parents believe that “water wings” will assist young swimmers. But they actually only hinder your child’s ability to learn how to swim. If a child already believes that they know how to swim, they may wonder why they need to take lessons when it actually comes time to learn..
Water wings are just one of the many common items on which parents rely too heavily. Other potentially hazardous pool safety devices include pool noodles, swim rings, and inflatable tubes, floats and rafts. Any and all of these have their own dangers and drawbacks. Unlikely drowning hazards are everywhere.
Again, if you’re looking for a floatation device that you can rely on, always use a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket on your child. This, combined with active supervision and installing a pool safety fence, is the smartest way to help keep children safe near the water.