There are a lot of child-friendly products available today marketed as “water safety devices.” From life jackets to water wings or even pool noodles, it’s important that any water safety products you give your child will, in fact, make them *safer* if they ever experience a drowning incident.
Unfortunately, not all products are made the same, and few are actually rated for safety. To better explain this issue, we need to ask: What floatation devices will keep your child safe?
Pool noodles are not an approved water safety device. While it is true they float, pool noodles do not decrease the risk of drowning, and they will not keep a child’s head above the water in an emergency.
Pool noodles are designed for two purposes: helping new swimmers develop their form and assisting people who already know how to swim tread water. In an emergency, pool noodles lack the heft and buoyancy of a lifeguard’s rescue tube.
Water wings are very common for toddlers and young children. However, these are not safe flotation devices. As the name suggests, water wings are inflatable Intertubes worn on the child’s upper arm. While these may help the child’s arms stay above the water for treading purposes, it misses the mark on the essential safety feature of any flotation device.
Water wings do not keep the wearer’s head above the water and may even make it more difficult to do so in a potential drowning incident. That’s because the water wings may prevent the child from pushing their head up or maneuvering in the water. Without careful supervision, water wings may worsen a potentially bad situation.
Life jackets are approved water safety devices. They are designed to keep the wearer’s head above the water. That, in turn, significantly reduces the risk of drowning, even among very young swimmers.
Remember, if your child is learning to swim and their floatation device is not designed to keep their head above the water, they may experience a false sense of security and are much more likely to have negative outcomes in a drowning incident.
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