Gareth loves water. He goes nuts every time there is an opportunity to play in water. When we were staying at a hotel, his favourite place was in the bathroom where the bath tub was. During our recent trip down to Singapore, the first thing he did when he got into the room was run into the toilet and climb into the bath tub fully clothed.
Although I initially bought him a neck float in an effort to teach him to swim, he quickly outgrew the usefulness of the neck float. After a while, he didn’t enjoy wearing it any more so we ended up “carrying” him in the water since he was too young to use arm bands and he didn’t like the ring floats or those baby floats that he had to sit in. “Carrying” him worked well for a spell but recently, he has been trying to push us away to gain his freedom in the water.
Being completely fearless around water, he is a lot more reckless compared to Gavin at this age and many times more likely to run into trouble in the pool because of that so I figured it was time to get him some arm bands. The smallest arm bands are made for children who are at least 2 years and above but I figured since he is a big boy for his age, arm bands were better than nothing. With arm bands, it is also a little easier on the person handling him in the pool.
The main problem with arm bands for a younger child is that it requires some experience with balancing for the child to keep his head above the water. Without that experience, a child with arm bands can still go under – which was what happened with Gavin when he was very young. It was the result of that single experience of having his head under the water for a brief moment that put him off deep water for the longest time. I figured that Gareth, being more adventurous, would take such experiences in stride.
While we were looking for arm bands, we found the following modified arm band by Ogival called “Water Wings”:
It is not a complete ring. It is more like a half ring attached to two arm bands. It is designed for children age 2-6 years. I tried it on Gareth and it works well. He can balance on his own in the water without assitance (although if he is around an older brother who is busy making tidal waves in the swimming pool then his head can still go under so constant surpervision is still required).
The problem with a lot of other floats is the sensation of being “restricted”. This float was tolerated by Gareth because it gave him a little more mobility and freedom of movement in the water. It is difficult to slip on though. The easiest is to partially inflate the arm bands, slip on them on your child’s arms and then blow them up again. The only problem with this float is that the part that sits under the arm floats keeps flipping forwards because of the design. Unfortunately, I cannot offer a better explanation than that because Gareth wouldn’t stay still long enough for me to get a picture. It doesn’t affect his ability to float, though, so it isn’t a big fault.
The Water Wings costs about RM20 from Jusco.