Swimming Pool Blog

The Problem with Water Wings or Swimmies

The Problem with Water Wings or Swimmies
by Mark Garcia June 14, 2014

Water Wings are Dumb. The problem with water wings (aka swimmies, or inflatable arm bands), is that they get in the way when you're trying to eat a brownie!

All kidding aside - swimmies or water wings are not the safest way to add buoyancy to a young child in or around the pool. Some pool safety experts even say that they're downright dangerous!

In this animation - these water wings are certainly oversized for this young boy, and would slip right off his arms if he fell in the pool!


Water Wings are Dangerous

  • They can easily slip off the arm when in the water
  • They can easily be removed by the child
  • They can easily be punctured by teeth or other sharp objects

Water Wings are Detrimental

  • They do not allow full arm movement for treading water or swimming
  • They hinder swimming skill development by keeping the body vertical
  • They give parents and the young swimmer a false sense of security

The CDC and the CPSC have both made plain statements - Do not use Water Wings. But yet - many Americans still buy them and use them. And most pool retailers still sell inflatable swim bands, to many parents who don't know they can be dangerous.

puddle jumpersThe American Red Cross did a survey this year of 1000 adults, and would you believe (!) that 32% of the respondents felt that a child would be safer wearing water wings, than he would be within arm's reach of an adult. The truth is - water wings are much worse than active adult supervision. Sad story.

Parents - please don't buy or use water wings. I know they're cheap and convenient, but there are other, much better choices for child floatation. Puddle Jumpers, made by Stearns, are far superior, or any USCG approved life vest, that is properly sized for the child. The Aquajogger Jr. swim belt is good for swim training.


Thanks for Reading!

Mark Garcia