Swimming pools can be a lot of fun. Families can spend entire summers in their own or public pools. However, swimming pools do carry a certain element of risk. Each year, between six and nine deaths from drowning occur in swimming pools in the United Kingdom. While the number may appear small, it is still a worrying statistic, especially for parents of young children. As such, many parents wisely implement strict rules near the pool for their children.
Beyond that, parents (and even adults), can add another layer of safety by using swim floats in the pool. Fortunately, there are many varieties of floats available in the market today to fulfil every conceivable need and preference. However, the huge number of choices can make picking the right one a time consuming and potentially expensive affair. With that in mind, here is a compiled list of the five best types of floats for families that will hopefully help make deciding a little easier.
Swimming armbands are the perfect choice of float for toddlers and children up to six years old. They are easy to use, and are very useful for kids that are just getting used to a pool. Many armbands are permanently inflated, and are quite resistant to punctures, so you will never have to worry about leaks or inflating them. Some manufacturers, like Speedo, have even produced fabric armbands which are significantly more comfortable compared to the ones made from plastic. They can even block harmful UV rays (up to UV 50+) that seep through most types of fabric.
Inflatable Pool Rings
Also known as a life preserver or tube, inflatable rings are donut-shaped inflatable tubes which allow users to float in an upright position. They are extremely popular with both adults and children, and can be used in a variety of ways. Most inflatable rings come in bright, attractive colours, and quite a number of them are designed using popular themes. Some even have fun added extras such as a shark’s fin. Users can move across the surface of water by either paddling, or being pushed. Larger ones can even accommodate more than one user.
Whether you’re in a pool at home or a resort, a lilo is a must have accessory, especially for mum and dad. Shaped like a mattress and filled with air instead of foam, an inflatable lounger is the perfect accompaniment to a lazy day under a glowing sun. You can sleep, read a book or listen to your favourite tunes as you float on water. As a bonus, it serves as a great secondary flotation device in large pools.
Child Float Suits/Vests
Why bother with armband floats or pool rings when your child can wear a floating suit? The floats, either sown in or removable, offer children unrivalled safety in the pool. High-end models, such as the ones produced by Speedo, are made using neoprene, the same material used for diving wetsuits. They are light, durable and provide strong protection against the punishing UV rays of the sun.
Neck floaties are tiny rings that are fitted around the neck of babies. They allow babies to experience the wonders of floating in a pool before they can walk or even stand. Babies simply love the floating sensation. However, it is worth noting that some paediatricians believe that neck floaties are inherently unsafe, and can cause neck injuries to babies. Further, there is a risk of them slipping completely down the ring into the water.