Swim floats aren’t absolutely necessary for teaching kids how to swim, but they sure do help them get comfortable in the water. Our family has tried a number of swimming aids for our children over the years, from kickboards to styrofoam noodles, plastic swim ‘wings’ to plastic/rubber inner tubes, and every single one of them is made from PVC/plastic/foam. Plus, they just get in the way of the natural swimming motion of kids bodies.
For parents who want an alternative to plastic floaties, there’s another choice of swimming aids for your children: Schlori Swim Cushions – 100% pure cotton swim floats that hold a child’s body in a natural position in the water.
We got a chance to try out the Schlori Swim Cushion with our four year old, thanks to Peace Love Organic Earth, and I’m really impressed with them so far. The floats are sewn out of cotton canvas, with no valves or openings in them, and they hold air when they get wet, as the natural fibers swell up. We have a cotton canvas tent for the family, and it does the same thing, except it keeps the water out.
The most difficult thing for me about these was figuring out how to inflate them – there’s no valve! The instructions say to “Draw one corner of the cushion apart and press the thumbs deeply into the corner. Place the mouth into the depression and blow strongly through the material into the cushion to blow it up.”
As wary as I was about placing my mouth in a depression (!), I worked at one of the corners until I could make a mouthpiece out of it and began trying to force air through it. Not as easy as it sounds… After a few minutes, and only seeing a couple of stars, I got the hang of it, and the first one was inflated in quick order. The second one didn’t take me long to inflate – perhaps a bit longer than blowing up a plastic floatie.
The Schlori Swim Cushions are attached by an adjustable cotton strap that goes in front, just under the breast bone of the child, and the cushions are positioned right behind the arms. Easy to put on, although if your kid is still dry, they’re dripping wet with cold water, it’s tricky to get them to hold still.
Once we got our daughter in the pool, she had to adjust to being bouyed up from behind and not from her arms as most floaties do, but once she got used to it, she was able to paddle around easily. Because the floats are in the back of the child, getting her to put her body prone in the water was quite a bit easier, and she had to be dragged out of the pool afterward kicking and screaming (OK, not quite, but it was pretty close).
The Schlori swim floats are pretty sweet, and due to the way they’re made, they won’t spring a leak like the floaties do. I think they’re a good investment in your child.
Here’s a little German swimming entertainment, so you can see the Schlori Swim Cushion in action: