With the arrival of summer and good weather, many families bet on going to the sea or the pool with the little ones at home. Without a doubt, it is a very fun and refreshing plan that the little ones really enjoy, but it also contains some dangers.
Did you know that last year 39 children under the age of 18 drowned in aquatic environments? In fact, it is estimated that drowning is one of the three main causes of death in children under 14 years of age, especially during the summer, the period in which the highest number of drowned children is concentrated.
Fortunately, there are some steps parents can take to reduce the risk of an accident and keep their children safe at all times. In this sense, aquatic protection accessories can become an excellent ally to keep children protected in the water. However, beyond its functionalities or its quality, it is also important to choose the most suitable water protection accessory for each child. We explain which are the safest and most suitable for each age.
The safest protective accessories for young children in the water
1. Neoprene vest
Suitable for babies from 6 months to 3 years old, they are a very safe option to avoid children’s accidents in the water. Made of neoprene and filled with cork or foam pads, they help keep the child afloat in the water while giving their legs and arms total freedom of movement. In addition, they include safety locks that prevent accidental opening.
Its use offers the child great security in the water and helps him gain balance and learn to float at an early age. Your problem? They are designed to ensure the safety of children while floating, so they are not a good alternative for parents who want to teach their children to swim since it is difficult to maintain a position parallel to the water with this accessory.
Belts are a great option for children ages 3 or 4 and up. As it is a simple and light accessory, it not only reduces the number of auxiliary elements but also helps the little one gain dexterity and confidence in the water. In fact, they offer great freedom of movement, making them a good ally for children to learn to swim.
Unlike other aquatic protection accessories, the belts can be adapted to each child, which makes them more comfortable to wear and gives them extra security. In addition, as they usually have a protective closure, it is more difficult for them to open and leave the little one unprotected in the water.
This classic of protection accessories is recommended for children from 3 years of age. Designed to familiarize children with the aquatic environment and help them lose their fear of water, they are perfect for a safe bath while the little ones have fun. Their biggest disadvantage is that they limit the freedom of movement of the arms, so they are not usually recommended for children who are learning to swim.
Being worn snugly around the arms, it is practically impossible for children to lose a cuff in the water, so they are quite safe. However, it is important to keep in mind that since most of these accessories are usually inflatable, they tend to wear out with use and can sometimes get punctured. Therefore, experts suggest always using them under adult supervision to avoid possible accidents.
The least safe aquatic protection accessories for your child
The classic floats are one of the most used aquatic protection accessories by families with children of practically all ages. From floats with pants recommended for children over 8 months to circular floats for older children, there are different options and models for all tastes. Their main objective is to keep the little ones afloat and they are usually quite safe. However, as they are bulky accessories, they limit freedom of movement, so they are not viable for teaching children to swim.
Another of their disadvantages is that, as they are usually inflatable, they are vulnerable to wear out in the sun and water, as well as being easily punctured. However, perhaps one of their greatest risks is that they can tip over, leaving the child with his head in the water and his feet out. In this position, it is very difficult for the little one to turn around, so if it is used, it is recommended to always do it under parental supervision.
It is a version very similar to the belts, recommended for children over 3 years of age. Its design varies depending on the model, but it basically consists of an accessory equipped with a kind of bubble or float with two fastening straps that guarantee that the bubble does not come loose. Being placed on the back, usually high in the back, it is above the child’s center of gravity, thus preventing the child from leaning forward when in the water.
Its use helps the little one to maintain an adequate body position and does not affect their mobility in the water, so they are a good resource for little ones who are learning to swim. However, they make it difficult for the child to be placed in certain positions, so they can sometimes be uncomfortable to wear. In addition, if by accident, the minor is face down, it is difficult for him to keep his head above the water.
3. Swans, flamingos and unicorns
Recommended for children over 6 years of age, these water protection accessories that have become a trend are ideal for the little ones to have fun in the pool. Their peculiar shapes are not only very attractive to children, but also make them easy to handle accessories. However, what many parents do not know is that they also carry various risks.
As they are bulky and light accessories, they are not recommended for use on the beach since currents and wind can carry them into the sea with the little ones on top. In addition, as they are inflatable, they run the risk of being punctured in an area where the child cannot stand and could drown. Likewise, they are especially dangerous if they tip over, since if the child is below, it will be difficult for him to turn them around to climb back up.
It is worth noting that regardless of whether an aquatic protection accessory is used, it is important not to lose sight of the child at any time. Also, the sooner the little one learns to swim , the safer and more confident he will feel in the water and the lower the risk of having an accident.