Do you and your child know how to use children floatation devices? Floatation devices, such as inflatable arm bands, tubes and Styrofoam bubbles, are a good way to provide support for new swimmers. They let swimmers focus on the action of their arms or legs, while relaxing their struggle to stay afloat. They allow the budding swimmer to build strength and stamina at the same time. Free-floating supports, such as kickboards and barbell floats, are a great way for children to practice kicking. The barbells also allow for greater range of arm strokes when used to support children at the armpits.
Supports that are attached to the body are also quite useful for beginning swimmers. Bubbles promote water adjustment and beginning stroke work. Arm band floats ("muscles" or "swimmies") should be used only by small children.
However, it's important to limit the use of floatation devices. Children may become dependent on them when they are allowed to venture into deep water with an adult. Dependence on floatation devices also slows their swimming progress, and can create a false illusion of the child's swimming ability that could lead to danger. Always stay in shallow water with non-swimmers, and supervise their use of their flotation devices.
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Swimming pools can bring a lot of joy to the whole family, but accidents happen when parents forget that they can also be dangerous. Approximately three hundred children under the age of five die from pool-related accidents each year.