Many parents prefer to train their children to swim with floaties for safety reasons. But, according to the American Red Cross, it does not count as swimming unless the child can glide freely up to 500 yards. To traverse such a distance, your child will need to learn the different strokes. Unfortunately, floaties only restrict the development of said techniques by undermining the need to stay afloat independently. They become crutches rather than assistors, leaving your child dependent on and unsafe without them.
Yet, despite their purpose, floaties grant a false sense of comfort. Most floatation products come with warning labels claiming they are not lifesaving devices. This is because they can slide off and deflate. They’re also impractical for emergency situations such as falling into a body of water.
Swimming for Confidence and Technique
By removing floaties, your child will need to develop life-savings skills and true form. With the right coach, your child can learn to swim unaided in the water without fear. The sense of accomplishment in doing so will boost his or her confidence and physical awareness.
Floaties reinforce bad form, too, making them a poor choice for fitness. They force a vertical movement by keeping the torso above water. This creates greater resistance in the water. Not only will your child tire faster, but his or her muscles will not learn the proper position for a clean horizontal stroke. Too much reliance on floaties can create bad habits hard to overcome later in life.