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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The YMCA uses these foam back floats. We recently got access to a university pool so the family can swim there for free, so we need to buy DD, 4 years old, the same kind of float. She needs maximum floatage, if that matters (hypotonic and needs support for her comfort and enjoyment).<br><br><a href="http://www.pistolworks.com/Foam-Bubble-Swim-Trainer-P4108.aspx" target="_blank">http://www.pistolworks.com/Foam-Bubb...ner-P4108.aspx</a><br>
Does that look good?<br><br>
Would love input from lifeguards or other experienced swim folks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
By the way, just for the record, I'm aware that these are not personal floatation devices, and will never let DD use one unsupervised (that is, parent right there in the pool with her). In fact there will always be TWO parents with her - we'll be using the time to let her practice swimming between us, etc.
 

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My kids use/used something like that and here in Quebec it is what all the swimming classes use for kids since I was a kid... but ours are not foam and instead they are inflated (like a basketball) and then you deflate it as they get stronger. What is great about them is that it holds them around the chest (under the arms) but they have full control of their body... and the less air that is in it, the more strength they build.<br><br>
My two older boys started off swimming with it when they were 2 and both started swimming alone at 3-4 and both are great swimmers now...
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>seashells</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14743983"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">She needs maximum floatage, if that matters (hypotonic and needs support for her comfort and enjoyment)..</div>
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Just reread your post and though they are great for learning how to swim, it is not a flotation device in the way that she will get maximum "flotage"... with this, they need to "swim" and it just helps them float enough that they have to work less to stay up and they don't get tired as quickly (or they can float a bit more if they are in an upright position and tread water)<br><br>
If you are going from parent to parent and she wants to swim between you or you are always holding her or supporting her a bit, then it should be OK, but she will have to do some work also and won't be able to let herself just be limp and float.
 

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ex lifeguard, swim instructor and advanced lifsaving instructor here...<br><br>
The only "safe" swim float is a PFD.<br><br>
Anything with flotation on the back or around the body is not safe. And even with more than one person it can be hard to upright a person if the water is pulling them in another direction.<br><br>
However if you need flotation and there will always be two adults I would try simple pool noodles. Under the armpits. Or a water walking belt around the body under the armpits. And know that a vigilent eye is key.<br><br>
Not knowing your full situation or being able to be there I would say you would get the most out of pool noodles. Having taught a few kids before without muscle control these are useful in many different ways.<br><br>
And back work was easier than front work in general. I was actually able at one point to work with a child with CP and we managed to get him to float on his own and we worked towards other stuff like walking. It really was incredible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>paxye</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14744142"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Just reread your post and though they are great for learning how to swim, it is not a flotation device in the way that she will get maximum "flotage"... with this, they need to "swim" and it just helps them float enough that they have to work less to stay up and they don't get tired as quickly (or they can float a bit more if they are in an upright position and tread water)<br><br>
If you are going from parent to parent and she wants to swim between you or you are always holding her or supporting her a bit, then it should be OK, but she will have to do some work also and won't be able to let herself just be limp and float.</div>
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I might have phrased it wrong. At the YMCA there is a bin of "bubbles." Our teacher showed us that some have more "floatage" than others. She puts more advanced kids with less "floatage" and less advanced kids with more, if that makes sense. Since our kid is hypotonic she's definitely using the kind that has more floatage, for her comfort. She feels more secure since she has low muscle tone. But yeah, even those she has to work (and in fact goes under without extra support from her teacher or parent).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>brymommy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14744165"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">ex lifeguard, swim instructor and advanced lifsaving instructor here...<br><br>
The only "safe" swim float is a PFD.<br><br>
Anything with flotation on the back or around the body is not safe. And even with more than one person it can be hard to upright a person if the water is pulling them in another direction.<br><br>
However if you need flotation and there will always be two adults I would try simple pool noodles. Under the armpits. Or a water walking belt around the body under the armpits. And know that a vigilent eye is key.<br><br>
Not knowing your full situation or being able to be there I would say you would get the most out of pool noodles. Having taught a few kids before without muscle control these are useful in many different ways.<br><br>
And back work was easier than front work in general. I was actually able at one point to work with a child with CP and we managed to get him to float on his own and we worked towards other stuff like walking. It really was incredible.</div>
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Hmm... strange. Maybe I should have asked for input from instructors rather than lifeguards, my error (I just wasn't thinking).<br><br>
We are not interested in a PFD. That is not a training device and is not intended to teach her to swim (in fact I assume it would be impossible for her to swim in it). We are looking for a training bubble to help her to swim, under the close supervision of teachers and parents.<br><br>
She is special needs and not near ready yet to go to noodle alone, she needs the back floatation as the YMCA requires.
 

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Swim instructor/coach here...<br><br>
I've only taught a few special needs swimmers, all older than your daughter, two with DS, others with sensory issues, but in my practice, I avoid flotation devices all together. If I were going to use anything, I'd go for the back bubble like you mentioned for the reason that it enables the swimmer to be on his/her stomach and make forward progress, but I prefer to avoid them as they usually effect the stroke and balance in the water. In the event that you are going to get one, I would think that any device that is comfortable for your dd and that she likes is acceptable.<br><br>
Does she feel that she needs a float to go into the water? Does she get her face wet? When I swim with a child who is quite young or has a fear of water, I make sure that my face is on the same level as theirs and that our cheeks touch often if we are working on back float or even just a belly swim. The more the child can get the feel of the water supporting her while on her belly, the more she will relax and let the properties of buoyancy work. Also, the more you can swim with your child in a relaxed, fun way, the better for her swimming abilities, float or no.
 

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I have been a swim instructor for the YMCA for about 8 years and am a lifeguard/water safety instructor. Since you will be swimming with child (which is the only safe thing to do anyway!), I would recommend not using anything at all. When I teach private lessons, I have students push off the wall to me, and I gradually lengthen the distance. This prevents dependence on a floaty. If you still want a floaty, I would recommend the "bubbles" or "backpacks" that you can take some of the float off as she becomes a stronger swimmer. We use these at my Y: <a href="http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/1913.htm" target="_blank">http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/1913.htm</a> HTH!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks very much. I think I will buy the progressive one, and it seems well reviewed.<br><br>
Honestly for ME - I'd be happy with DD not having any floats. I don't have concerns about that for myself, and in fact I'd prefer to do away with them everything else being equal.<br><br>
But DD is low on confidence for physical skills (with good reason), and it's such a pleasure to see her enjoy swimming. Even so, she does not (and never has) do well being pushed. She absolutely insists on going at her own pace and comfort. The back floats at the Y have given her a measure of confidence, and even so she has only just, in the last lesson, begun to swim a couple of feet without her teacher holding onto her. So with that context, that she even required her teacher to hold her in addition to wearing a float - I want to provide that for her so she can build on that confidence.<br><br>
However, I'm a little tempted to just take her this weekend to the college pool and see if she might actually swim a little without a float. I doubt it, however, I think she'll just insist that DH and I hold her, which is ok too. She's just very clear on her boundaries and I have no intention of forcing her out of her comfort zone in this case, given the positive progress we've been seeing without pushing her.
 

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Another lifeguard/instructor chiming in- while I generally discourage floaties, I completely understand where you're coming from as I have a daughter who needed the confidence to be independent as well. In her case, I actually used a PFD so she could float all over the place and get comfortable in the water, then we just decided to take it off. She did fine.<br><br>
I would suggest either a pfd (they can swim in them pretty easily, actually) or the graduated bubbles- and just pull one off as you can. I would also really suggest getting her to work with a pool noodle- you can play games with them and kids will often 'accidentally' let go for a moment. When they realize they are swimming it helps boost their confidence.
 

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Also former lifeguard/instructor<br><br>
We used a red cross curriculum I believe and I have also worked for a YMCA as one of their swim instructors and honestly prefer he red cross.<br><br>
As the other instructors have stated: no flotation is best but I also see what you're saying.<br><br>
With the red cross based classes we did "preschool" aged lessons with kids 3-almost 6 years old and "youth" classes that overlapped lesson material with some preschool material for ages 6 and up. I had several 7 or 8 year old kids in the basic classes not because they'd never had swim lessons before but because their pace was much slower than other kids their age. no big deal. I even had a 16 year old in with a class of mostly 7 or 8 year old kids once.<br><br>
The kicker for me was goggles. older kids were allowed to use goggles and I had a fair number that were INCAPABLE of swimming without them or if they malfunctioned to any degree. yes, I fully and completely understand that swimming in a chlorinated pool hurs the bare eyes. but as far as being CAPABLE of swimming should one have to WITHOUT PREPARATION (i.e. falling from a dock inot water over their head without a PFD on...) it is imperative that hte ultimate goal of learning to swim being able to keep oneself from drowning. I worked really hard with my litle swimmers at learning to deal with water in the eyes, in general and while actually swimming and how to blink water out of eyes. Once the kids are capable of swimming without float and without goggles, then sure, go ahead and use the goggles and floaties for fun or whatever.<br><br>
Another hing that helped with water confidence is being allowed to play in the water and being allowed to use bath time as play time as well. once they're comfortable with shallower water and the sensation of floating (even if they're not really floating) they will then be capable of learning ot acually swim.<br><br>
and with a PFD, though one might not be able to swim well in one, you can propel yourself through the water be it kicking, moving your body in a coordinated fashion or a coordinated flailing, you can move in one and it is imporan to learn how to do that as well. we laways spend our las lesson of a session as a "safety day" and the older kids usually loved being tossed into the pool wearing a pfd and playing games in them and such.<br><br>
just being comfortable is important.<br><br>
just my 2cents! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Former Lifeguard & Instructor.<br><br>
Agree with virtually everything so far, except...<br><br>
If I were going to use a float like the ones you are mentioning, I would definately get one that has the strap through the legs. Otherwise it is just too easy for the float to get pushed too far up.
 
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