Over the past 12 years. we’ve had lots of non-swimmers around these parts…and since the twins were born in 2011, we’ve had at least 3 kids that can’t swim competently! That’s a lot of stress at the pool, yet with sweltering desert temps, we need some way to beat the heat. I’ve collected a handful of ways to keep my kids safe when it’s time to swim, so that we still get a chance to cool off without giving poor mom a heart attack!
- My first trick is to leave the baby at home asleep. We don’t have a pool at our house but we do have one down the street, so sometimes I’ll have my 12 year old neighbor come sit at my house while a baby or toddler naps. We also have a couple of friends and grandmas with pools so it’s nice to put baby to sleep inside while we swim at someone’s house.
- We always use trustworthy flotation devices for the non-swimmers. The Stearns® Puddle Jumper® Bahamas 3D Life Jacket has been the only thing we’ve used for YEARS. I love them because they keep kids upright in the water comfortably and let them use their arms to practice swimming. Kids feel independent and more confident and I get a chance to play with my kids in the water rather than holding a kid hostage on the steps. It’s also US Coast Guard-approved which means that we can be use them at public pools with strict life jacket requirements. Finally, the buckle is in the BACK which means that tricky little kids can’t escape. I seriously can’t praise them enough. Even the Puddle Jumper® Life Jackets we’ve had for over 5 years still look and smell as good as new!
We bought our cute Paw Patrol version at Target this year and the girls all love it!
- Bring an extra adult or teen. This goes without saying, but the more competent helpers you have at the pool, the safer everyone will be. The only trick to this is that the other person can’t distract you! It’s always tempting to sit and chat with a friend but kids can drown in just minutes so I try to keep distractions at a minimum.
- Watch for hazards in natural bodies of water. We do most of our swimming in pools, but any visit to an ocean, lake or river has me extra cautious. Hidden dangers like rocks, branches, wildlife and undertow can create a deadly situation if we’re not careful so we warn the kids of these dangers and stay in safe places.
My last tip for using a new personal flotation device is to test it on your child with you close by. You want to make sure that the child can keep his head out of the water comfortably. For example, Stearns® Puddle Jumper® Life Jackets are recommended for kids 30-50lbs and so since Mimi is already 30 pounds (at age 2! Such a chunk!), I tried one on her, but her arms were too weak to hold her up and she couldn’t stay in it. Finn, on the other hand, only weighs about 4 pounds more than her, but is much stronger and more mature so he does fantastic in them. The twins are getting to be pretty competent little swimmers as well but if there are lots of kids at the pool, I often put a personal flotation device on them as well to keep me sane.
Good luck with your littles this summer and stay safe!
Check out this cute video for more ideas and instructions for Stearns® Puddle Jumper® Life Jackets.