When your child is learning to swim, it’s exciting, challenging and can make for some seriously proud moments. If you've got your swimming nappies and swimsuit ready, you're probably thinking about giving them a bit more independence in the pool.
Most babies love to be in the water, but to help them feel safe and confident, it's worth investing in some baby swimming aids. While pools may be closed again at the moment, it's worth preparing for when lockdown rules lift. You may also have a pool at home, or be planning a staycation to a house with a pool.
Visiting the swimming pool is a great indoor activity to do over winter, and a swim float will really help your child improve their swimming technique. When it comes to toddler swimming aids there are lots of products available to help you out.
We've rounded up some of the top rated baby and toddler swimming aids on the market, so whether you're looking for a pool noodle, armbands or a swim seat, you're sure to find the perfect float for your tot.
This swim vest is great for keeping your little ones warm, as well as being a buoyancy aid to assist children learning to swim and gaining water confidence. It's available in sizes for 1-2 years, 2-4 years and 4-6 years, as well as seven lovely colourways. It was Shortlisted in the 2020 M&B Awards Best Travel Product Under £30 category, here's what one of our mum testers had to say:
"The Splash About’s Go Splash Swim Vest is a must for pool/beach holidays. It is quite slim when folded so it doesn’t take up much room in your luggage. Our son has been going for swimming lessons for a while however he doesn’t like his head getting wet or being in deeper water. The swim vest meant that as our holiday progressed our son’s confidence slowly increased so that he was happy to float and start to kick between us both."
This bestselling swim seat is suitable for babies that are 0-12 months, and is perfect to keep your baby stable and upright while they get used to the feeling of being in the water.
Mum reviewer Emma said: "I took my 3 month old swimming in this and I cannot explain how much he LOVED it. He didn't want to come out and was so happy just floating and kicking about. Extremely sturdy, no chance of it tipping over and he sat nicely above the water level. Definitely recommend this to everyone."
This Puddle Jumper helps to keep your child's head above water, while offering freedom of movement. It's made from durable and resilient woven polyester, a softer fabric for less chafing and features a buckle at the back for safety. There are 13 designs to choose from and it's suitable for children with a weight of 15-30 kg (24 months - 5 years).
"Our building has a swimming pool and last year we were gifted a baby float and two normal arm floaties for when our son got old enough. By now he has grown out of the baby float and when we put the normal arm floaties on if you let go of him he would dip his head forward. The same day I ordered the Puddle Jumper.
"This was seriously the best thing we could have done. If he somehow by accident ends up on his back the thing will automatically turn him back on his belly. When jumping in the water from the side, he will not go under. Last week he didn't want us to let go yet. But today, the second time after 2 min he was already paddling around in the water.
"This is the safest thing you can buy for your child from 2y + I really am happy I ordered this.Whoever came up with this idea is a genius. And really easy to put on and he loves putting it on, there is no struggle." - reviewed by mum-of-one, Kate
Suitable for babies aged 0-12 months (up to 11 kg) and 12-24 months (up to 15 kg), this swim seat has a secure seat with a pillow back to help your little one sit upright comfortably and get used to kicking their legs in the water. It's available in three colours.
James, dad-of-one said: "We bought this pool seat for my 3 month old son who weighs 15lbs. He just fits in it comfortably with lots of potential for growth which is ideal. We were very pleased with the quality of this product and the fact that the edges of the material were smooth so would not hurt his legs or arms. Easy to blow up and safe for him to sit in. We felt very comfortable seeing him safe in it."
There are a variety of sizes and colourways available for this float suit, ranging from 1-2 years all the way to 4-5 years, although you should select the size that corresponds to your child's weight to ensure it's the right one. Made from quick drying soft close-knit Lycra, the all-in-one swimsuit isn't constrictive, so allows your child to swim freely.
One review said: "Excellent product, very useful and true to size. My grandson never goes to our swiming pool without it. He looks so cute in it!"
If it's confidence your child needs, this will absolutely do the trick. It keeps your little shark afloat without restricting movement or getting in their eyeline, so it's perfect for when they reach the big pool. Suitable for ages two and up.
"I bought this for my 6 year old son who hasn't mastered swimming. It gave him real confidence in the "big" pool. It is just enough to help them see afloat without blocking movement. Great for swimming on their back too. I would recommend it if you have a child who has some experience in the water but is not 100% capable of independent swimming." - reviewed by mum, Sarah
For slightly older children, this swimsuit jacket offers complete freedom of movement while in the water to help develop the natural swimming position. Made from neoprene with UPF 50+ sun protection, it has built-in floats to aid with buoyancy. Suitable for children ages 4-5 years with a weight of 18-25kg. Available in pink (pictured) and green.
Mum Sandy said: "I bought this for my daughter who was a complete non-swimmer to wear at her lessons and soon realised I needed one where you could remove the floats a few at a time. Now she has a bit more confidence, this suit is perfect as it gives enough floatation to keep her head above water but she doesn't rely on it to do all the work."
If armbands are your child's preferred flotation device, you can't go wrong with these ones from Zoggs. They're made from PVC, with flat contoured underarm gussets for comfort. These come in two sizes, suitable for years 1-3 (pictured) and 3-6.
A review by mum, Jen, said: "Bought for our 18 month old daughter to use on our staycation. They are excellent value for money, work well and seemed comfortable to wear."
You can't go wrong with a pool noodle as a toddler swimming aid. Simply place the noodle underneath your child's arms, across their chest. Dimensions: 1.5m x 6cm.
One review by mum Lainey said: "Very good for my 3 year old as she is using it to learn to swim. We can teach her on our own and they use noodles in the swim classes so it has helped in building her confidence."