Arm Floats

Submitted By

Megan Popielarczyk
Safe Kids Georgia, Georgia
August 7, 2013

Recently I was talking with a community group about injury prevention and ways they could incorporate lessons and safe behaviors in their mentoring relationships with children.

I brought a pair of arm floats and showed them to the group, starting my discussion of water safety. I asked, “Has anyone ever put these on a child or watched someone else put them on?” looking for someone who raised their hand I followed up with, “what is the first thing you do to make it easier to get them on?” “Dunk them in water” someone replies. “Exactly” I confirmed. I begin telling them this story.

“So Krista was little a 4-year-old, with blond hair and big blue eyes, in the swim class I taught. She was fearless and willing to try anything I asked her to do. Her mom, knowing that Krista was a risk taker, always made her wear arm floats when she was not in the pool with me. One hot Saturday while at the pool with her family, Krista, wanting to show off her jumping skills, leaped off the deck and into the pool. Then, just as easily as the arm floats slipped on, they slipped right off. Her mom, shocked at what had happened began to get ready to jump in as the floats that she thought would protect her had not. Just then she noticed that up bobbed a little blond head and off to the side she swam, as if nothing had happened. Krista was lucky because she was learning to swim and was able to get to the side by herself.

“But do you know that these will not protect a child from drowning? If you read the warning on the arm floats it says that right on them.” Passing the arm floats around, I then went on to talk about the importance of a coast guard approved floatation device and how they work. How swimming lessons can be a fun and empowering activity for the children. I also reminded them that whenever a child is in the water there needs to be an adult actively supervising.

After the presentation I heard so many people talking about the arm floats, my story and how they had always thought that they would protect a child from drowning.

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