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Why Are Puddle Jumpers Dangerous?

Why Are Puddle Jumpers Dangerous?

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The Hidden Danger - Why Puddle Jumpers Are Not The Best Choice For Your Child’s Safety

As families gear up for summer activities involving water, ensuring the safety of young children becomes paramount. While flotation devices like puddle jumpers are marketed as a convenient solution, there are serious concerns about the risks. In this blog, we will explore why puddle jumpers may not be the best choice for your child's safety, how they fail to teach swimming and actually make drowning more likely, and why drowning prevention education combined with vigilant supervision is crucial.

What Are Drowning Statistics and Risks

Drowning remains a significant cause of accidental deaths, especially among children under the age of five. For this age group, drowning is the #1 cause of accidental death. For children ages 5-13 it is still the second leading cause of death. There is an urgent need for water safety measures and educational awareness.

A Popular Swim Time Item With Real Dangers - When & Why Puddle Jumpers Should Not Be Used

As parents we’re always looking for things that will make parenting easier, we get it, it’s hard! From ordering groceries to virtual doctor visits, anything that can take a little bit of the stress off is always welcomed. Let’s be honest, all parents are terrified of losing a child to drowning and the puddle jumper is an extremely popular tool that parents use to take some of the stress off. The mostly unknown fact about these perceived conveniences is the risk that detrimentally undermines a child’s safety - to the degree that if your child cannot independently swim, you should stop using puddle jumpers immediately.

What Is The Problem With Puddle Jumpers

When an item is promoted so heavily for us to use for the safety of our kids it can be hard to understand why puddle jumpers are not OK. Let’s take a look at some myths vs. truths.

  1. Puddle Jumpers Keep My Kids Safe In Water

    • Puddle jumpers create a false sense of security for both parent and child. Parents believe their child is safe ‘secured’ in their puddle jumper. Children think they can swim because they are able to move about the water while wearing their puddle jumper. These two false securities lead to more relaxed supervision - even just sitting down to rest while your child paddles around the pool. Additionally, they give a child a false sense of belief that they know how to swim.

  2. Puddle Jumpers Prevent Drowning

    • Puddle jumpers place children in a vertical position in the water. This position is actually referred to as “drowning position.” Try putting a stick flat on the water - it floats. Try placing it vertically on the water’s surface, it plummets to the bottom. This is exactly what happens when your child enters the water without his puddle jumper and goes into fight-or-flight mode because he cannot swim. His muscle memory will instinctively put him into “drowning position.”

  3. My Son Learned to Swim Because of a Puddle Jumper

    • This one is easy. Your child will have their swimming development hindered by the use of a puddle jumper. The puddle jumper keeps your child afloat, it does not teach your child how to float. The arm bands get in the way, restricting arm mobility and preventing proper development of swimming skills. Use of them for a child to learn to swim will impede their progress in becoming a confident, independent swimmer.

What Can I Use Instead of Puddle Jumpers?

Constant arms-length, undistracted supervision, and a clear handoff of supervision duties.

  • If your child cannot swim they should absolutely always be within arm’s reach or in a parent’s arms in the water. This hands-on supervision is the only way to ensure immediate responsiveness and the safety of your child.

  • If you have to leave your supervision duties for any amount of time always have a clear pass off of duties. It takes 30 seconds or less for a child to drown - it takes more time to fill your water bottle.

  • High visibility swimwear like HiViz all-neon rashguards is an added tool you can utilize to aid in the supervision of your children around water. Wear neon swim, never blend in.

Teach Fundamental Water Skills

  • The best protection you can have against your child drowning is their ability to self-rescue or swim. Enrolling your child in survival swim lessons (Like ISR) or traditional swim lessons with a focus on floating and safety can make all the difference. Children who learn to swim are 88% less likely to drown.

Are Other Flotation Devices Safe

  • We strongly believe that no flotation device should ever be used in place of arms-reach supervision of a child who cannot independently swim.

  • USCG Approved Flotation Devices should absolutely be worn around water by children and adults alike - especially if they cannot swim. These devices serve not as ways to provide independence but as flotation devices in the case of an emergency.

Water Safety Knowledge:

Drowning prevention education equips both parents and children with essential water safety knowledge. It helps individuals understand the risks associated with water activities, recognize potential hazards, and develop appropriate safety measures. Take steps today to educate yourself on the NDPA’s 5 layers of protection and implement immediately any that you do not have in place.

I’m sure it’s frustrating to be told that you should stop using a puddle jumper immediately. We promise you, we just do not want to have another parent lose another child to drowning. While puddle jumpers may appear convenient for water activities, it is important to recognize their limitations and risks. These devices do not teach children to swim, they create a dangerous and muscle-memory body position, and they give a false sense of security to parent and child.

You can take action immediately by stopping the use of puddle jumpers, prioritizing drowning prevention education, formal swimming lessons, and vigilant supervision to ensure your child's safety in and around water. By equipping children with essential water skills, promoting water confidence, and maintaining vigilant supervision, we can significantly reduce the risk of drowning and foster enjoyable water experiences for all.

HiViz Swimwear is a mom-owned all-neon swimwear company dedicated to increasing visibility of children when in the presence of water, drowning prevention education, and doing everything possible to educate the masses to help further the mission of eradicating childhood drowning.

Join us in singing the NDPA’s “End the Misinformation” letter: End The Misinformation Letter, to spread the word to retailers to stop marketing and selling these dangerous, life-threatening devices.

Join us in taking the Judah Brown Project’s No Floaties Pledge:

 

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