Should Kids Learn To Swim With Arm Bands? 5 things you need to know.

October 5th, 2015

Arm bands/water wings are a popular floatation aid many parents opt for when swimming with their kids. But how helpful are arm bands for actually teaching children to swim?


Here are 5 things you need to know about arm bands/water wings:


1. They are not lifesaving devices. Watch your children carefully as kids can take the arm bands off while in the water. Make sure the water wings don’t leak.

2. They come in different sizes for different ages. If you decide to use them for your kid, check to make sure they are appropriate for your child’s age and weight.

3. Children may need some practice until they learn to find their balance in the water with arm bands. Assist your kids and make sure their chin and mouth is above the water the entire time.

4. Pros:

  • Arm bands can help teach children about the buoyancy of the water (about floating)
  • Swimming with arm bands provides some independence so the child can move through the water without being held by the parent/caretaker

5. Cons:

  • Arm bands do not allow for proper arm movement (kids can not fully extend the arms forward). Because of this, children can not learn how to efficiently use their arms in the water, which is very important for learning to come up for air, as well as for propulsion
  • When using arm bands many children (especially young kids with little swimming experience) adopt a vertical body position and kick. As a result they can develop an inefficient body position and leg movement


Our professional advice

Try to avoid using arm bands for your child. They do not help in teaching kids to actually swim. There are other floatation aids much more suited for helping children to become confident in the water and learn to swim. The floatation aids we recommend for teaching children to swim are: noodles, swim belts, swim suit with removable floats (for younger children).

If you want to teach a child to swim, this is the gear we recommend: Best swim gear to teach toddlers and children to swim.

 Teach Your Child To Swim™ was especially designed for parents who want to help their kids learn to swim step by step and be safe in the water:
If you have any questions for us, post them on our Facebook Page:

Gilda Dobrica,
Swimming Instructor

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