Last updated: 06/09/2020

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When summer arrives, everyone goes swimming at the beach, the pool, in lakes or any other body of water that provides a break from the heat. If you are a parent, you should be considering which floaties to choose to guarantee the safety of your baby or child at all times. These products are the perfect accessory for ensuring that swimming is not dangerous for your child and that there is still plenty of room for fun.

For children, days out at a water park or the beach are a great source of entertainment as well as an activity that helps to strengthen the child’s muscles and develop coordination. Floaties are an essential accessory to take with you on a day out at the pool or beach and we have created this complete guide so you can find the perfect product.

Key Facts

  • Children develop many skills in the water whilst having a great time. What’s more, swimming is an activity that strengthens the bond between parents and children.
  • Parents must always be extremely cautious and vigilant around deep or potentially dangerous water, especially with babies who have not yet learned to swim. If you have a young child who cannot yet swim, floaties are an essential item.
  • When choosing the most suitable floaties for your child, it is important to take into account factors such as quality, the child’s weight, and age, and where the floaties will be used.

Our Selection of the Best Floaties for Kids on the U.S. Market

Many parents do not have enough time to compare the different models of floaties on the market and find the ideal product for their child. To help all those busy parents out there, we’ve done the hard work by researching and selected the four best floaties for kids currently on the market. Take a close look at the list below to see if there is a product that suits your child.

Best Inflatable Floaties for Kids

The Stearns 3000004731 Puddle floaties are US Coast Guard-approved, so you can be guaranteed that they are extra-safe for your little one whilst they are in the pool or at the beach. These are the best inflatable floaties on the market because the unique shoulderless design provides kids with a better range of motion and greater stability while helping to build confidence in the water.

Best ‘Learn-To-Swim’ Floaties for Kids

The Paddle Pals floaties for kids are the safest floaties on the market. These floaties are US Coast Guard approved learn-to-swim floaties that are perfect for pools, lakes, and beaches. The safety shoulder harness prevents the vest from sliding off during use and keeps the child from removing the life jacket without help. The durable polyester material and multi-panel design provides superior comfort and a long-lasting product.

Best Back Floaties for Kids

The TOYSHARING Back Float offers good floating support and increased buoyancy to help beginners maintain balance when learning how to swim. The back float features a snap buckle that is easy to adjust and is secure to ensure that the float will never slip off your child’s back. With 4 adjustable colors, you can slowly remove layers as your child becomes more confident in the water and builds strength.

Best Swimming Vest for Kids

Speedo is a brand that is synonymous with swimming and learning how to swim. The Speedo Classic Swim Vest offers SPF+ 50 protection from the sun whilst keeping your child safe and buoyant whilst in the water. Made from soft, durable neoprene construction for warmth and comfort, this is the perfect option for your child when you go to the beach or pool.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Floaties for Kids

If you have a young baby who has not yet learned to swim, you may have a few questions about floaties or the safety items needed to have to go to the beach or the pool. Today we will be answering the most frequently asked questions from parents about floaties.

kid with floaties

Using floaties does not replace adult supervision.
(Source: Mark Bowden: 33604631/ 123rf.com)

What are floaties and what are the advantages and disadvantages of using them?

Floaties are items that are usually made of inflatable plastic, cork or unsinkable plastic and are designed to keep children and adults afloat. Children use these items to begin their adventures in the water and when learning how to swim. Floaties provide many advantages, but as with anything, there are also some disadvantages to be aware of:

Advantages
  • They keep children afloat
  • Floaties keep kids safe whilst swimming
  • They are available in many shapes and sizes
  • There are inflatable and solid models
  • They are very cheap products
Disadvantages
  • There is a risk that the baby cannot swim naturally whilst wearing floaties
  • They do not prevent an adult from supervising at all times

Although the benefits list of floaties is long, you must pay close attention to the disadvantages. It is critical that you never leave the child alone at any time, even if they are wearing floaties. Always remember that floaties do not replace constant supervision whilst your child is near or in water.

What types of floaties are there?

When it comes to floaties for kids, there are five main types: conventional ring floaties, arm floaties, back floaties, noodles and, the latest revolution, floating bathers. The first four are the most well-known and most commonly used. Choosing between each option depends on the age and needs of each child.

If we were to establish a chronological order of use as your baby grows and learns to swim, it would be: conventional ring floaties with panties (to hold the child in place and prevent them from slipping through the hole) > back floaties > arm floaties > noodles. Bathing suits with built-in floatation systems are ideal for the beach or larger spaces, such as water parks.

Karen Gill, MDHealthline

“Being in the water engages your baby’s body in a completely unique way, creating billions of new neurons as your baby kicks, glides, and smacks at the water”.

How should children’s floaties be used?

Using these products may seem easy, but to ensure that you use your child’s floaties function correctly, you must follow a few simple steps. Even if you think you know exactly how to use kids floaties, reminding yourself of the following steps will keep your baby safe and you will be able to enjoy the beach or pool without risks. Take a close look at the information below.

  • Inflate the floaties: This step is only necessary when using inflatable floaties, as polyethylene (or solid) floaties do not require inflation. You must always check that there is no air leakage that causes them to deflate while in use.
  • Placement: This is one of the most important aspects. It is essential that you follow the particular instructions of each floaty to place it correctly on the child’s body. This will ensure that the child is comfortable and maintains full mobility.
  • Vigilance: We want to repeat it again that the use of floaties does not mean that parents do not have to maintain constant supervision of the children whilst they are in or near water.
  • Deflate and clean: (only delate the blow-up floaties). By keeping these products clean you will be taking care of both your child’s skin and increasing the life of the floaties. Ideally, floaties should be rinsed with fresh water after each use and left to dry in the shade.
Little baby with a floatie in a pool

Floaties are important for children because they are able to begin swimming with safety and confidence.
(Source: Patryk Kośmider: 84496022/ 123rf.com)

What steps are there in the learning process of swimming and what role do floaties play?

Like any learning process for children, there is a specific process that should be followed so that the child feels safe at all times and can gradually improve. When it comes to swimming, children feel more comfortable in this new environment little by little and with patience. Below we have a few tips for introducing your baby to the water.

  • The child must slowly acclimatize to the aquatic environment, this includes the temperature of the water.
  • One of the best techniques to reduce the fear of water is to hug your baby and talk to them affectionately to provide reassurance.
  • With your baby being supported by the floaties, you can walk around the pool whilst holding your baby so that they can become more familiar with the environment.
  • Even if your baby doesn’t understand what floaties are, you must teach them that it is something that provides them with security.
  • Bring toys, so that your baby will associate swimming with fun and enjoyment.
  • Always use the proper flotation system for their age. As the child grows, they will begin to kick and strengthen their muscles while learning the basic movements of swimming.
  • Once your child sees that they can move their arms and legs independently whilst wearing floaties, little by little they will swim on their own into deeper water.
  • Slowly you will see how your child becomes more and more comfortable in the water.

Floaties play a fundamental role in the process of learning how to swim. These items are the products that children can use to safely learn how to swim. It is very important that you encourage your child to always use floaties in the water so that it will never occur to them to go to the water without these important safety items.

little girl with a floatie in the sea

Floaties should be purchased according to the size of the child.
(Source: Yanlev: 10229023/ 123rf.com)

Shopping Criteria

Before choosing which floaties will accompany your child as they are learning to swim, you must first assess certain aspects that are essential for making a good decision. Below we list the five main purchase criteria to review when it comes to floaties for children.

Safety

Without a doubt, safety is the most important criterion that parents must assess when it comes to floaties for kids. If the floaties do not display or advertise the required safety approval then they should not be bought.

It is very important that you are very strict with this aspect, as your child will depend on this product for safety and enjoyment in the pool or at the beach. Swimming has many benefits for the development of babies, but it can be very dangerous if the necessary safety precautions are not taken.

Jill U. AdamsThe Washington Post

“A 2009 U.S. study found an 88 percent reduction in drowning risk in kids ages 1 to 4 who had taken swimming lessons.”

Weight and Age

In order for the floaties to properly perform their function, they must be suitable for the weight and age of the child. Most products will display a label from the manufacturer that recommends the suitable age range for the product. It is important that you pay close attention to the manufacturer’s indications in order to make the right choice. Below we display a general table with information on weight and age:

Age Weight (pounds) Float type
Less than 1 year old Up to 22 lbs Fitted to the body (with a seat)
Between 1 and 5 years old Up to 40 lbs Fitted to the body (sleeves or back floaties)
6 to 12 years old Up to 77 lbs Various

Keep in mind that these guidelines are general and will likely vary from child to child. We recommend relying on the weight capacity as the main indicator rather than the age of the child. The floaties will be designed to support a maximum weight, and some children grow at faster rates than others. Always ensure that the weight of your child is within the capacity of the floaties and always buy new floaties as your child grows.

Usage

Another of the fundamental purchase criteria when it comes to floaties for kids is to think about what they will be used for. For example, if the objective is for your baby to learn to swim, there are flotation systems specially designed for this purpose. There are even different models according to the progress of the child’s learning.

If the floaties are being purchased to take to the beach or pool to enjoy a relaxing dip, the flotation system will be different. Particularly in the first two years, when the child has almost no physical strength, the floaties used to become comfortable in the water should have a seat so that the baby is comfortable and does not slip down.

Material

As we have mentioned earlier in the guide, there are floaties made from a very diverse range of materials. The most common materials are plastic and polyethylene due to their high flotation capacity and their low cost. However, an important factor that must be taken into account when it comes to materials is the toxicity of the material.

Floaties will be in direct contact with your baby’s or child’s skin, which may already be somewhat irritated by water or pool chemicals. Therefore, you must avoid buying products that contain harmful substances such as BPA (bisphenol A). This is a substance that can cause allergic reactions to a child’s skin. Always read the packaging of the product carefully and ensure that the materials used are BPA free.

Floaties in a pool

There are many varieties, designs, and colors of floaties for you to choose from.
(Source: Serezniy: 111615224/ 123rf.com)

Quality

The quality aspect of floaties is a combination of all the criteria mentioned above. The fact that this aspect is last does not mean that it is any less important than the others. Any product that you are going to buy for your child must be well-made and durable. It is sometimes difficult to determine the quality of an item by just reading the product description or the materials used in the manufacturing process.

To help you determine the quality level of floaties, you should pay attention to the opinions of experts or other users of the product. In addition, there are specific brands that are synonymous with quality thanks to their long history making children’s or swimming products, such as Speedo.

Summary

New parents like to enjoy a good dip in the pool or lake with their children. It is a refreshing and enjoyable way to pass the time on long, hot, summer days. So that everything is enjoyable and your child is not put in any danger, you must always use floaties to keep your child and baby safe while they swim.

Although these products help parents and children significantly, parents can never replace constant supervision with floaties. Always watching your children while they are in or near water is an absolute must. So what are you waiting for, buy your child some new floaties and get out there and have a great time!

If you liked our guide on floaties, please share it on your social networks or leave us a comment below.

(Source of Featured Image: Famveldman: 37158797/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

William Dixon Professional Educator
William loves kids of all ages and is a professional educator. During his professional career he has learned a lot about education and toys. Now he loves to blog about it and hopes to help young parents. It is important to Wiliam that he stays up to date, therefore he regularly informs himself about current topics in the field of education.