Water Toy Safety Risks: What to Know This Summer

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The official start of summer is close, and with that comes swimming and water activities in pools, lakes, and oceans. 

As parents, enjoying the pool safely and ensuring our children are safe in the water is one of our top priorities. 

The use of pool toys is something we often encourage as well because they help our kids have fun in the water. 

With that being said, pool toys are first and foremost, not safety devices that can replace the need for vigilant supervision in the water. 

Parents shouldn’t get lulled into a false sense of safety if their kids are using certain pool toys and floats. In some cases, these can end up being more dangerous than if a child were in the water without them, as well.

The following are some of the riskiest water toys.

Water Wings

Water wings or arm floats are something that parents will often have their kids wear in the pool because they’re meant to be floatation devices. 

Yes, they help your child float, but they are dangerous. For example, a child’s small arm can easily slip out of the wing before you even realize it. These wings can also make children and parents feel a false sense of security. 

Children learn bad habits from always wearing these wings. They develop the idea that they can jump in the water and immediately bounce up, and they may not understand that the same thing won’t happen if they aren’t wearing the wings. 

It can be better to work on swimming skills with your child without the use of these wings. 

Floatation Rings

Baby seats that are attached to floatation rings again are not a safety device. It can be fine to use them as a way to enjoy the water with your baby or toddler, but again don’t let them cause a false sense of security that puts your child at risk. 

You have to watch your child very carefully and be very close to them when they’re wearing a flotation ring because they can flip over if your child shifts their weight. Then, they can be trapped upside down in the water. 

With items like water wings and flotation devices, there are manufacturer warnings to let you know the risks of these devices. 

Most flotation devices aren’t inherently designed for very young children. Young children have heads that are heavy proportionally to their bodies. That means these floats are more likely to tip over when young children use them. 

Pool Houses

Pool houses are a big trend in water toys right now, but they can also be extremely dangerous. A pool house makes a little habitat for kids when they’re in the water. They include walls and a roof, but they can turn over and trap children, or deflate, which could lead to your child being entangled in them.

They are also dangerous because they a three-dimensional and make it harder to see your child while they’re in the pool house. 

When pool houses flip, children can become injured from going into the water, but also from hitting their heads on the side of the pool. 

Inflatable Pool Slides

An inflatable pool slide lacks the safety of a traditional pool slide. An inflatable side is not sturdy or steady. It can easily deflate or become unstable leading to falls and other accidents. They can also be slippery surfaces. 

Don’t Use Toys As a Substitute

Parents should go into the summer with a few important things in mind. First, pool toys are not a substitute for anything in the water, including supervision or swim lessons. 

Pool toys can make your child feel more confident and you, and sometimes that confidence is not a good thing when it comes to water. 

If there are too many toys in the pool, along with the individual risk each can bring, it can also make it harder for your child to swim. It can make it more difficult to see if a child is having trouble in the water too. 

Any pool toys you have at your home should be stored after each use. If your child sees these toys in or around the pool, it may make it more tempting for them to try and get into the pool area when no adult is around. 

Along with constant attention, the best thing you can do in terms of water safety this summer is to get your child swim lessons and work to teach them the skills they need.

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