We've been trying the excellent Swim Fin. Much better than armbands for teaching your kids to swim.
Our Score: 10/10
We've given the SwimFin swimming aid the Thumbs Up award.
- Keeps your child in the correct position for swimming.
- Keeps your child's arms free to start learning to swim.
- Easy to put on your child.
- It works!
- It's fun!
The not so good
- Not inflatable, so it will take up space in your bag when you head to the pool.
This was a hands-on product review. The product was supplied to us to test and conduct the review.
SwimFin swimming aid has a recommended retail price of £31.99.
SwimFin swimming aid Photos
We've been trying the excellent swimming aid by SwimFin.
Armbands may give you some peace of mind as a parent when you see your child bob around like a cork in the swimming pool, knowing they won't sink.
Unfortunately, they don't help your child learn to swim.
Upright is Not Right
Armbands keep your child vertical in the water, and because their arms suspend them, movement in their arms is restricted.
Armbands restrict arm movements
To swim, the body needs to be much more horizontal, and the use of the arms is essential.
The correct swimming position is quite instinctive.
A false sense of buoyancy
Armbands also give a false sense of buoyancy. Take them off, and suddenly, your child doesn't understand why they no longer float.
They sink. They panic.
Armbands could reduce confidence in the water
Floating, especially in a calm swimming pool, is quite easy if you have confidence and relax.
Unfortunately, if they have gotten used to armbands when removed, it can have the opposite effect, lowering their confidence in the water and putting further obstacles in the way of learning to swim.
So, what's the alternative?
We tried our four-year-old on a small child's buoyancy aid designed for swimming.
It wasn't long before he was using his arms and naturally started swimming between us.
This was a major improvement over armbands, but it still had a few problems.
- The arms were free, but the buoyancy around his body still made him bob like a cork. To get onto his front to swim, he had to fight against the buoyancy in the jacket.
- The fit wasn't great either and would rise up his body, making it very uncomfortable.
SwimFin: The better alternative
After just two sessions with SwimFin he was doing the doggie paddle
Essentially this is a swimming float that's in the shape of a shark's fin and straps to your child's back.
Our little boy loved it (and loved being a shark to attack his sisters).
By being positioned on the back, buoyancy is applied in the right place, and he can easily get onto his front to swim.
After just two sessions (the first he was more focused on being a shark!) he was doing the doggie paddle.
It's important to note that despite the fun appearance, SwimFin is a swimming aid and needs adult supervision. It purposely doesn't have the same amount of buoyancy as armbands.
You will also find that your child may need swimming goggles as they will be in a swimming position, rather than their head bobbing around out of the water.
We've been very impressed with the SwimFin. A simple concept that works well.
The fin is well constructed and looks like it will stand up to plenty of knocks children will give it, and is easy to fit with the supplied Velcro straps.
You can order Swim Fins in a variety of colours from SwimFin.co.uk, and they are also available from Amazon (with some good reviews from other parents).
UPDATE: Swimfin Success!
So our little boy continued to love his SwimFin.
Wherever we went that had a pool; the fin would come too (even if it is a bit bulkier than fitting armbands into a suitcase).
His confidence in the water grew, especially with games to improve water confidence, as he could dive down a little bit with the shark fin on.
He could get around swimming pools relatively quickly, unlike children bobbing like corks with their armbands on.
Then, one day, he just swam
Then, one day, he just swam. No fin. No other buoyancy. It was just a natural progression from the SwimFin.
All that time he had been learning to swim, with the Swim Fin holding his body in the correct position, just giving him enough buoyancy support. Then one day, he didn't need it that extra buoyancy.
Not one swimming lesson was needed.
Thank you SwimFin! :-)
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