For  National Water Safety Month we take a look at an issue that has created a lot of confusion for parents and caregivers: using life jackets and arm bands for children in the pool. With so many people voicing different opinions (and for different reasons), we want to let you know our position on the subject, as well as our reasoning.

There are arguments for and against using these devices, however Texas Swim Academy recommends against children learning to swim using life jackets and arm bands in the pool for two significant reasons:

False sense of security.  This is as much a reminder to parents and caregivers as it is to children: life jackets and arm bands are not foolproof safety devices. These items can unexpectedly deflate, shift position or come undone and create a drowning hazard. Don’t let these devices lull you or your child into a false sense of security, stay focused on the water and the swim instruction.

May create dependence.  Children who habitually use life jackets or arm bands in the pool tend to become dependent on them, which creates a feedback loop in which swimming skills stagnate and the child fails to develop in the water. Disallowing these devices forces children to focus on their skills and technique in the water, which we feel accelerates development and eliminates bad swim habits that might arise.

Classes at Texas Swim Academy are very small, instructors are highly trained and sessions are supervised to ensure safety is our number one priority – children in our care are safer and earn more effectively without life jackets and arm bands than they would using them.

As National Water Safety Month continues, please take any opportunity you can to focus with your children on issues of safety and accident avoidance. Use these  water safety worksheets for kids  to explore additional areas and raise general awareness. For our next blog, we will continue to focus on water safety with a look at the differences between pool swimming and beach swimming. Enjoy the water with your kids and stay safe!