Swimming Gear by Age: A Guide for Summer

As they age, children change, so swimming gear for kids changes as they age as well. Toddler pool safety gear may be perfectly appropriate, but for adolescents, it could hamper their swimming or be wildly inadequate to protect them. Understanding where your child’s swimming development is and what will help them continue to grow and progress is necessary for fostering increased swimming ability and water safety.

Safety First

Whatever your child’s age, there are three things you can do to help them be safer around the water, whatever swimming gear for kids you deem appropriate.

  • Protect Your Pool With Safety Barriers – Physical barriers that limit unattended access to your pool are a must in homes with children. Pool safety fences and safety swimming pool covers both help ensure that children can’t access your pool without your knowledge and can even help keep pets and adults from accidentally entering the pool, potentially placing them at risk for injuries or drowning. Pool safety fences are designed to prevent climbing, be rip-resistant, and not allow a child to work their way under, around, or through any gaps. With self-closing, self-latching gates, the only way to enter the pool area from the outside is with the use of a key or to be let in by someone inside the pool. This way your child can’t just don their favorite swimming gear for kids and head to the pool unsupervised while you’re still changing. Pool safety covers are different than floating covers, which can become an entanglement risk is a child falls into it. Safety covers are anchored to rails that run the length of the pool. Made of rip-resistant material, they can bear much more than the weight of a child carrying the safest swimming gear for kids, preventing them from entering the pool’s water, even if they crawl or walk out onto the surface of the pool.
  • Get Them Educated – Toddler pool safety gear is great, but if they sneak to the pool without it and without supervision, they could still be in danger. Swimming classes are available for children as young as infants, where your kid can learn vital water survival skills. Getting your child into swimming classes as early as possible is a smart choice when you own a backyard pool. In addition, water safety lessons should be taught in earnest to make sure they are developing a safety-conscious mindset.
  • Get Certified – Make sure to take some classes of your own to keep your kids safer. The American Red Cross offers water safety training as well as first aid and adult, child, and infant CPR classes. In the event of an emergency, these skills prepare you to take action and help save a life.

Infant Swimming Gear

From 6-months to about a year old, infants should always be held in the pool. Make sure to use swimming diapers to protect the pool and other swimmers from fecal contamination. Care should be taken to keep them warm, as their smaller bodies can be sapped of heat by the water quickly. At this age, many are not in enough control to use floaties, and even donut-style flotation devices meant to sit in can overturn, putting them at risk. Bobbing gently in the water with happy parents is best, though a brightly colored floating toy meant for their age group can help make swim time fun.

A small girl wearing floaties.

Toddler Swimming Gear

From age 18-months to about 4-years, the availability of swimming gear for kids explodes. From bright passive toys that float to active toys that swim on their own, it can be an exciting time. Close supervision is required, as while they are gaining better control of their bodies, they don’t yet know their limits. If they’ve moved from survival classes to actual swimming classes, gear that aids in their swimming endeavors, such as fins and goggles, are appropriate, as are pool toys that are easily manipulated. While many people consider the near-ubiquitous floaties as mandatory toddler pool safety gear, they can hamper the development of true swimming ability, so use them with caution.

Ages 4-6

Around age 4, more kids are developing into good swimmers, and more freedom can be granted to them in the pool. You are the best judge of their skill level, so you should choose skill-appropriate swimming gear for kids. Water noodles and the like are great for new swimmers as they can aide flotation without encumbering the child and they engage the imagination. Some diving toys may also be appropriate in shallower areas, though the deep end is probably still too much to expect.

Ages 6-12

Kids still need supervision, but they’re better able to understand their limits and the risks that can lead them beyond them. Most swimming gear for kids is fair game as long as the child and parent are comfortable with the swimming level needed to make the most of it. If at this point your child still cannot swim, lessons should be a top priority as they are at an age still easily educated in swimming basics. They also will be attending more events with kids and organizations at pools away from home, so the safety lessons you’ve instilled from an early age will become invaluable.

Creating A Safer Pool Space

Making a safer pool area is a responsible choice that helps protect your children, and that peace of mind is often more affordable than you’d imagine. Contact our specialists today at 866-651-POOL for safety barrier options tailored to your needs. Read more about swimming pool safety by keeping an eye out for new posts on the A Safe Pool Blog.

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