We can all probably agree that swimming is not only a vital life skill, but also a hugely enjoyable sport for kids to get involved in. Most of us have memories of swimming lessons complete with sauna-like leisure centres, foam floats and swimming hats. Not much has changed in 2023, but these kids’ swimming aids are bang up to date.
This equipment should make children’s swimming experience more fun, and give adults a bit of peace of mind. There are a few different types of swimming aids, but a good one will foster confidence in the water for babies and toddlers, and for older kids too.
Buoyancy aids, like lifejackets and float suits, are, unsurprisingly, the most well known. These help non-swimmers float, and will help them get used to the principles of swimming. However, they should never be used as a life saver, and they will still require an adult who’s a strong swimmer to be with your child 100 per cent of the time.
With these vests, rather than trying to size up, get one that fits your child right now – both in weight and measurements. Anything too big will ride up and be hugely uncomfortable (and potentially dangerous).
Inflatables can be a lot of fun, and make swimming with young babies a whole lot easier. These you can push around a pool, so your infant can feel the wind in their hair. Again, these aren’t meant to be used for anything other than fun, and you should stick right next to your baby when they’re in one.
Once their skills and confidence grow, dive toys are fab for encouraging children’s development while also providing hours of fun in the pool. Whatever you go for, the main takeaway here is to stay close to your child in the water, even if they’re a strong swimmer. It’s always best to play it safe.
How we tested
We recruited a range of mini testers to give these swimming aids a whirl. That included non-swimming and more confident swimmers, so we really got an idea of what suited different abilities. Of course, we took a big steer from the testers and what they thought was fun and comfortable. During testing we took the testers to family swims, and paid close attention to how handy each piece of equipment was. Here are the ones that made waves…
The best swimming aids for 2024 are: