The Dangers of Using Armbands and Floaties

Floaties and arm bands have been around for a long time but as Swim Instructors it always worries us to see kids with them on. 

There’s a number of reasons why you should avoid using them on children in the water:

  • Using them puts the child’s body in a vertical position which is not the correct position for learning how to swim or float properly. They keep a child up vertically high in the water so when they go to swim in the correct horizontal position they usually resist it and are unfamiliar with having their face under the water.
  • If your child is building confidence and independence in the water through swimming lessons; having them then use floaties and armbands at home can delay their progress as it's not a consistent approach.
  • Using them can instil a false sense of security in children. They believe they can swim on their own with them on and then become reliant on them. Often when you go to take them off them they can lose confidence and become scared of the water.
  • Adults also have a false sense of security and often feel their child is safe in the water but a lot of things can go wrong. Adult supervision is essential. The Royal Life Saving Society guidelines are - always be in the water and within arm’s reach of a child under 5 years or a non-swimmer, constant supervision for 6-10 year olds and regular check on 11-14 year olds.
  • Floaties and arm bands are not fool-proof – they can easily slip off, deflate or your child can tip in them and get stuck, unable to get themselves back up.


Teaching children early on about water safety and adult supervision are some of the best ways to reduce the risk of drowning and accidents. Want more information? Please contact us.