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What is the best swim aid for toddlers?

I need to find a swim aid/safety device that will help my 29 month old in learning to swim independently. Last year we bought the swim suit with the build in floatation panels, and it was HORRIBLE. It did not help her at all. It wasn't even safe - rather than causing her to float vertically or on her back, if I let her go she flipped straight to her stomach, face in the water. It was the proper size, correct fit, good brand - stupid things just don't work like they are supposed to.
Does anyone know which swim aides actually work and would help my daughter to be able to swim on her own?


Asked by FluffyMamaBunny at 2:01 AM on Mar. 1, 2011 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (7)
  • My 2 year old learned to float last summer. My older kids were swimming independently by 4, but I swam competitively growing up and we're in the water all the time. Even as a baby, my 2 yo hated all flotation devices because they inhibited his movement. We finally found one last summer (after buying 3 different ones!) that my nephew had. It's like swimmies but has a strap that goes across his back so it holds them on well. It allows him to kick his legs and move his arms but won't let him sink.
    Nothing ever replaces adult supervision, even when they can swim but some things can be helpful in teaching them how to swim.

    Answer by missanc at 9:43 AM on Mar. 1, 2011

  • A life vest and an attentive parent.

    Answer by SweetLoveofMine at 2:04 AM on Mar. 1, 2011

  • in my experience, life vests are horrible. They bunch up around the neck, and are much easier to swim WITHOUT, than to swim with. They do keep ya floating...but that's about it.

    Comment by FluffyMamaBunny (original poster) at 2:10 AM on Mar. 1, 2011

  • Maybe try getting her to swim by holding her under the stomach and just let her swim. She can't drown if you're holding her up. That's how I learned.

    Answer by SweetLoveofMine at 2:16 AM on Mar. 1, 2011

  • That's what we've been doing since she was 6 months old. But she's getting to that point where she's too independent, and sink or swim, she just wants to get out on her own - so I want to help her do that in a way that is both productive and safe. I don't know what is considered a normal age to learn to swim without floatation devices - I learned when I was 4. I'm really not sure what her capabilities at this point should be - she does try to swim on her own, but it doesn't tend to work out very well.

    Comment by FluffyMamaBunny (original poster) at 2:24 AM on Mar. 1, 2011

  • Take her to the YMCA for swimming lessons, they are really good with kids. A woman across the street had her daughter enrolled for swimming lessons when she was 5. She was swimming like a fish in about a month I think.

    Answer by Michigan-Mom74 at 2:41 AM on Mar. 1, 2011

  • missanc, can you tell me what the one your nephew had is called? I'd like to look into it.

    Comment by FluffyMamaBunny (original poster) at 11:57 AM on Mar. 1, 2011