Swimming with your children can be one of the greatest joys of parenthood, but we want to keep our little ones safe. I have recently purchased a Konfidence Jacket for my four year old and would love to give you my thoughts on it! Please note that I am in no way affiliated with or compensated by the Konfidence company and all views expressed below are entirely my own.
I have two pre-school children in two completely different situations as far as swimming goes. Four year old Hugo started swimming lessons when he was 10 weeks old and continued until he was three. 23 month old Isla has never been to a swimming lesson and wasn’t exposed to swimming at all during her first year of life.
Guess, what? Despite all of Hugo’s swimming lessons, neither of them can swim confidently yet. BUT the big difference is that Hugo knows that he has to hold his breath before he sticks his face under the water as he started his swim lessons before he lost his bradycardic response (the reflex that makes babies hold their breath and open their eyes when they’re under water). Isla chokes and splutters if she goes under and is also less confident about being in the water in general. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends swimming lessons for all children age four or older as children younger than four are not *usually developmentally ready to learn to swim (the guidelines in the UK seem to be a bit looser). Swimming lessons for children younger than four may help build their confidence in the water, but it is unlikely they will be able to learn to swim unaided. And in my opinion confidence without actual ability can sometimes lead to dangerous behaviour (Hugo has let go of my hand and taken off running towards a pool to jump in because he lacks any fear). Therefore, it’s vitally important to remember that all children need to be carefully supervised around water at all times.
So, I find myself with a child who is confident in the water but can’t quite swim unaided. How do I keep him safe? I have tried Hugo with arm bands and they do work well to keep him afloat, but they get in the way of natural movement in the water. I searched online for a better alternative and came across the Konfidence Buoyancy Jacket. I decided to give it a go as it got very good reviews and has won lots of awards. The jacket is made from soft neoprene and has a chunky zip with a velcro guard to keep in from coming undone. The front of our one is dark blue with light blue trim and the back is bright yellow for high visibility in the water. The vest has compartments for individual floats (included) which can be removed for washing and can also be removed as a child improves at swimming. We have only had the vest for a few weeks and Hugo is nearly ready to have his first couple of floats removed!
Hugo is 4 1/2 and I ordered the 4-5 years vest as I think in the next 6 months or so he will be able to swim without any assistance and won’t need it anymore. It fits him perfectly and is easy to get on and off. He says it’s comfortable and he LOVES wearing it in the water! I asked him if he wanted to wear his armbands again and he said “No, Mummy! You can give them to Isla!” The jacket helps him to remain buoyant without getting in the way of his arms or tipping him forward unnaturally like armbands can do. And there’s no risk of it possibly slipping off like with armbands.
I couldn’t recommend this vest more – it’s made my life so much easier as I can now take both children to swim in our local pool (which has a lifeguard) by myself and I am confident that as long as I am in the water with him, Hugo is safe with this jacket on. The jacket can be purchased from http://www.konfidence.co.uk for £24.99. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have! (FYI, a child must be supervised at all times while wearing the jacket and the jacket should only be used for swimming and not as a life vest on a boat or during water sports).
Have your children tried the Konfidence jacket? If so, please feel free to send me your experience with the jacket and I will add it to my review!
* I say usually as one of Hugo’s friends from his former preschool has been able to swim since she was three and I have witnessed this with my own eyes!