When my son was three he started taking swimming lessons. The pool we took lessons from used a swim “Bubble” to help the kids get comfortable with the water and learn how to stay in a swimming position on their own. It’s 4 foam rectangles providing enough flotation for the child to stay afloat (Water Gear Back Float 4-piece).
One of the great things about this bubble is it puts your child in the forward swimming position. Yes, they are able to stay upright in a standing position in the water, but as they are more comfortable in the water they can let their bodies lean forward lifting their hips closer to the surface of the water – a more horizontal swimming position.
As the child becomes more comfortable in the water and becomes stronger, you can take off one of the foam rectangles which are threaded through a thick nylon strap. This allows the child to still have assistance in the water, but requires them to put forth a little more effort on their own – teaching them by necessity without forcing it. If you take off one at a time they hardly notice it!
The buckle clicks in tightly and is difficult to undo. My 4-year-old can do it with concentrated effort but younger children would probably not have the strength. I would not trust this as much as a life jacket to keep my child from drowning. It’s not a life preserver, it’s a swimming aid (to be used with adult supervision).
After using this bubble for lessons last year (as an assisting tool) I saw the many benefits they provide. On our drive across country, I knew our new house in Phoenix would have a pool so I immediately ordered 2 of these on Amazon. They are the least expensive of the swimming aids ($9.80) and virtually indestructible. The closed-cell foam will not suddenly lose air or risk puncture like the inflatable swimming aids, and it allows full freedom of movement of both the arms and legs.
Three weeks went by with my son swimming nearly every day in the pool with his bubble. We took one of the four sections off and he didn’t notice. Then, one day, he got brave and decided he wanted to swim like his older brother with no assistance. We took the bubble off to give it a go. I was amazed at what he was able to do! He was able to swim completely unassisted and quickly gained confidence. These bubbles along with a good pair of goggles (also a necessity for my kids) have been the best swimming tools for my kids. I’m excited to use them with my 2 year old – 3 next summer – when she will really start to swim on her own.
If you have a young child who is in need of some swim help while learning to swim try this out! You will LOVE it! – and so will they ;)