Why My Daughter Never Wears A Puddle Jumper

With baby number one, expectant parents are exposed to so much advice. Some recommendations you take and treasure, while other advice you ignore as soon as you hear it. There are factors in that decision equation such as the source, the examples shown and the research on what advice you listen to. Swim lessons and how to approach water safety is just one of the million things we have to navigate as parents.

I enrolled my first born in swim lessons when she was one. I went to a swim instructor that came highly recommended from someone I trusted. Plus, I had seen little bitty children who went to her that could swim, which … what parent doesn’t think that’s a pretty cool outcome?! Based on the recommendations and the research, this was a perfect fit for us. So we signed up and eagerly attended her swim lessons. We ALL went to her swim lessons. Yes, we were the family with the one year old in the pool with both parents on the side and both sets of grandparents watching. I may or may not have had the DSLR camera in hand as well. Nope, an iPhone photo wouldn’t do.

The instructor, or “The Swim Whisperer” as I affectionately called her, had our daughter swimming to the side of the pool in the first two classes. She was adamant that when lessons ended we should continue to expose our daughter to swimming in order to continue to develop her skills. Our instructor also had two rules that we were to follow. Number one was … NO goggles. Her reasoning is that if your child ever fell into a pool, they would most likely not have goggles on. So the child would panic because the water hit their face instead of swimming to the side safely. If children are comfortable and at ease with water in their face then they are not be as likely to panic from that particular factor.

Her second rule was no puddle jumpers or floaties. Yes, you read that correctly. Her reasoning with regards to this advice is that puddle jumpers and floaties give kids a false sense of security because they sit higher up in the water. Then, when they don’t have the puddle jumper or floaties on, like when learning to swim, they are uncomfortable and scared because it feels unfamiliar and not as secure.

You know what? We followed her rules precisely. My nearly six year old has never worn goggles or puddle jumper. She is a great swimmer, so parental mission accomplished.

All of that said, we now have two daughters and our youngest is a toddler who keeps us on our toes. Our six year old NEVER wore a puddle jumper but now I am nervous with man-to-man coverage of parents (2) to children (2) in the pool. Our second daughter is quite the handful, and her legs never stop moving. So as the parent who never put their first child in a puddle jumper, I am stuck between a rock and puddle jumper.

I know it sounds silly, I really do. This is not a monumental decision on the road of parenting. But I so deeply treasured this advice with the first child and I saw that it was effective.

But what works for one child doesn’t always work for the next … so you may just see my daughter in a puddle jumper this summer!

Tell me :: are you on team puddle jumper?


  1. Throw away your puddle jumper immediately!!! My daughter drowned today and only by the grace of God were we were able to resuscitate her. She is with Mommy tonight in the hospital overnight. Thankfully she has no signs of permanent damage and should make a full recovery… One thing I haven’t seen anyone talking about is the weak, little plastic buckle on the back. It is a BAD design. My daughter took her’s off and went for a swim without them… It took seconds and she was in the water drowning… I can STILL see her blue lips and cheeks when we yanked her out of the pool. DO NOT BUY THESE DANGEROUS PRODUCTS.

  2. The last line is extremely bad advice.
    If you can’t watch your kids in the water, don’t take them in the water.
    The puddle jumper gives them AND us parents a false sense of security. They could take it off, an older child could take it off for them without you knowing, and the worse could happen in a seconds of you thinking they are safe and not paying (enough) attention.
    Oh, and for private pools, a secured fence around the pool. Accidents happen so quickly.
    Take them to weekly swim classes. My eldest could do laps doggy-paddle style before he was 3, and my youngest can now do that at 3.5. They could both get back to the edge if they fell in from a very young age, and swim underwater as far as their breath could take them. They have never worn a buoyancy device except for life jackets on boats/canoes, and have always been aware of their own limits in the water.


  3. The last line is extremely bad advice!
    If you can’t watch your kids in the water, don’t take them to the water. Simple.
    These puddle jumpers give them AND you a false sense of security. They could take it off, an older child could take it off. You don’t know, you’re not paying enough attention lulled by the false sense of security that they’re safe. Accidents happen in seconds. Why take the chance?
    My boys have been in the water practicing skills from the age of 3 month old. They (and us) have always known their limits in the water and been aware that they could not float/swim by themselves. A child with a puddle jumper think he/she can without an adult.
    Yes, time in the pool was not much fun and relaxing for me when the youngest was a baby (they are 22 months apart), but you know what’d be even less fun? Burying your child from a drowning accident.


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