Have you heard of the Free Swimming Baby Swim Float? It is one of the most popular baby floats currently on the market, and this is because of the unique design. If you have read my past posts, it is very similar to the LAYCOL Baby Swimming Float with Canopy (ready my review here!) So what makes the Free Swimming Baby Swim Float and stick out from the crowd? Read on to find out!
Safety is always a parent’s main concern, and so you’ll be happy to know that the Free Swimming Baby Swim Float is virtually unflippable. If you have ever tried one of the more standard baby float designs, you probably realized that they are not perfect and seem fairly easy to flip if your child is energetic enough. So here’s how the Free Swimming float accomplished this.
This baby float has a raised front that will keep your baby’s face up high, but it also eliminates the risk of front flipping. Your child may use their hands to paddle in the front of the float and in standard donut-shaped floats, this could cause the front to dip and the back to flip upward. However, in this float, the front bulges so much, that your child is really required to move their arms to the sides and it is much too large to dip into the water.
This baby float also has a very wide base, which keeps it a sturdy foundation against flipping. Your baby may be able to reach his or her fingers over the sides to touch the water, but with the horizontal position and the wide sides, your child will naturally feel more comfortable placing his or her arms in the correct nook that is created just for them.
This nook is in a place where it is comfortable for your child and it is the safest. Your child will be in the best position for learning to swim naturally.
If you want to view how a child actually moves around comfortably in this float, then view the video below:
One thing I love about the Free Swimming Baby Swim Float is that it positions your baby differently than most of the baby floats on the market. Most baby floats have your baby sitting upright in a floatation device. This might be very comfortable for your baby, but it is not a great option for a few reasons: it’s easy to tip and it doesn’t teach your baby proper swimming form. So here’s how the horizontal position changes this.
The first reason that the horizontal position is better is that it is much more sturdy. When your child is sitting upright in a seated float, they are much more likely to tip the whole thing over. They are able to move a bit more from side to side. They can reach over each edge, and the more your child reaches, the less balance the float has. Your child can easily tip him or herself out, especially as he or she gets a little bigger.
When your baby is in the horizontal position he or she cannot reach very far out from side to side or even in front. Your child can only reach far enough out to paddle in the water, but not so much that there is any danger of flipping over.
Another reason that the horizontal position is much better than the vertical sitting position is that it does a better job of mimicking real swimming. You don’t bob up and down in the water when you are learning to swim, especially if you cannot touch the bottom of the pool. Instead, you learn to swim by angling forward and raising your bum toward the surface of the water.
In fact, many swim instructors will coach their pupils to lift their bottom up to the surface of the water, so this is the correct way to learn to swim. If your child is used to sitting suspended in a floaty, then they don’t understand how to manipulate the water around them to get places.
The horizontal position will help children learn to paddle and develop muscle memory in their arms and legs for proper swimming form.
I mentioned that the design of the Free Swimming Baby Swim Float was very similar to the LAYCOL Baby Swimming Float that I wrote a review of earlier. However, there are some differences and one of them is the support of your child’s torso. The LACOL chest support is made of the same material as the rest of the float, but the Free Swimming float apparently has a soft spongy material that supports your baby’s chest area. This seems to be more comfortable on your baby’s skin, especially if your baby isn’t wearing a swim shirt.
As stated above, parents are all about safety, and this inflatable floaty wouldn’t be the same without the super safe straps. Your child is lying horizontally in the water in the Free Swimming Baby Swim Float and so they could easily slide down and out of the float if the straps and chest support weren’t there. The straps help to keep your baby from sliding down the float.
The straps serve another purpose as well. They keep your baby from being able to lean out too far one way or the other. If they leaned out too far, they could potentially flip the floaty over.
The safety straps are an important feature of this floaty because it is not a standard vertical seat floaty. If the straps are not adjusted correctly to fit your baby, there is a potential for danger. Your child should have the straps on so that they are snug against your baby’s skin. If you can pull it away from your child’s skin easily, then you should tighten it. However, if the straps are cutting into your child’s skin, then loosen it until the straps are comfortably snug.
If the straps are loose, your child will be able to lean back in the water and could potentially flip backward. It is difficult to do, but it is possible. So make sure that you follow the instructions in the manual and have your child wearing the straps properly.
I’ve mostly talked about the design of the Free Swimming Baby Swim float so far, but it is important to note that it is very portable. Most baby floats are, but this baby float is inflatable, and thus, easy to transport. When it is deflated it can be very compact and fit easily in a beach bag or a purse. When it is inflated all the way, it isn’t very large either, so if you have a few hands on deck to help you, you could easily carry it back and fort inflated.
One thing that makes this floaty easier to tote around than others is that it comes with a pump. You can pump it up easily and deflate it without dreading reinflation. The pump is very small and lightweight as well and easy to take along with you.
So, whether you are going to the local pool or vacationing in Hawaii, this floaty is easy to bring around.
There are some floaties that I’ve reviewed recently that have some pretty entertaining options. The LACOL baby swimming float comes with two little pool toys that your baby can chase around the pool. The SwimWays Baby Spring Float has a complete activity center attached to it that will keep your baby entertained for hours. The SwimSchool Baby Boat has three little toys that come with it as well.
So what does the Free Swimming baby Swim Float come with, you might ask? This one is actually not as exciting as the rest. It has two little rattling balls that are within the floaty. Your child cannot see them or play with them, but they are little balls that will make noise as your baby paddles around.
It seems to me that babies can block background noises out pretty easily, so though it might be a bit exciting at first, I find it hard to believe that your baby would be too thrilled about this noisemaker for very long.
Though it would be nice to have some pool toys to make this more exciting, you can of course just buy your own pool toys. The other toys that come with the other inflatables will likely get lost easily anyway since they are not connected (with the exception of the SwimWays Baby Spring Float with an activity center).
The Free Swimming baby Swim Float is so similar to the LAYCOL Baby Swimming Float, that it is easy to mix them up. However, there is one thing that the LAYCOL has that the Free Swimming float does not, and that is a canopy. If you are the parent who exclusively takes their baby to an indoor pool, then this is a non-issue. However, if you have a baby with very sensitive skin and you spend most of your swimming hours outside, then you might want to get the one with the canopy.
How to Protect Your Baby
Of course, there are other options for protecting your baby’s skin. You can dress your baby in swim shirts and give them a hat to wear. You can also lather them up in sunscreen, but the canopy is a very nice feature for additional protection. Even if you have sunscreen and you have a hat on your baby, UV rays can still get through. The LAYCOL canopy is measured at 50 SPF, and with that plus sunscreen, your baby should be completely safe from burns throughout the day.
Another big difference between the LAYCOL and the Free Swimming float is that the LAYCOL advertises that their float can be used for breaststroke and back float, while the Free Swimming float only claims breaststroke. So is this an important feature or not?
While more options are almost always better in my book, I think this one isn’t very important to me. Just like in my reviews of the baby carriers, I could live without the hip carrying function. In fact, though my own carrier came with it, I never used it. Though you might get some use out of the backstroke feature, your baby will likely get tired of it rather quickly.
When your baby is under 8 or 9 months old, they are a little more tolerant of laying flat on their backs, but once they start crawling, they prefer to be on their bellies to reach for things and try to be on the move. Your baby will naturally want to be on their belly on the floaty because it will mimic their crawling motion, which is how they are comfortable moving around.
While your baby might like backstroke for a while, they probably will prefer to be on their belly where their view is everything around them at eye level, rather than staring at the sky.
If your child has any kind of special needs or developmental delays, then the LAYCOL might be a better option for you just because it offers the backstroke position. If your child has a difficult time keeping his or her head up while on their tummy, then the breaststroke position may be too tiring or frustrating for them to enjoy.
The backstroke feature is a great feature of the LAYCOL. Though the Free Swimming Baby Swim Float doesn’t explicitly advertise the backstroke position as an option, it does seem as though it could likely be possible since the Free Swimming Float and the LAYCOL are so similar in design.
Why Is Swimming Important?
As I mentioned earlier in this article, the Free Swimming Baby Swim Float is one of my preferred baby swim floats because it is a great way to introduce your baby into the right position for swimming. However, why is this important? Can babies figure out swimming without being in this position?
Even if your baby uses an upright float position, this doesn’t mean that your baby will be developmentally delayed in the water. In fact, there is no standard age for learning to swim. Babies can learn to swim but some people don’t learn until adulthood, or ever. People can learn to swim at any age, so even if you aren’t introduced to the water in the prime position for doing it, you can still be a successful swimmer later in life.
The benefit of the Free Swimming Baby Swim Float is that it introduces your baby at an early age to the best way to swim. This means that it is possible, that if there were an accident, your child could get him or herself to the edge of the pool and out because they know the motions of swimming.
Swimming is an important skill to learn, especially for young children who are more likely to have drowning accidents than adults. This is the only sport that can actually save your child’s life. So it is understandable that parents would want to introduce their child early to the best swimming position.
Other Swimming Benefits
Even if you’re not too concerned about your child havening a possible accident, swimming is still a great sport that your baby can enjoy. What other sport can babies be so proficient at? Swimming is a great sport for babies to be involved in because, according to Swimming.org, “Swimming keeps your child’s heart and lungs healthy, improves strength and flexibility, increases stamina and even improves balance and posture.” In other words, swimming is an excellent form of exercise. Children are always on the move, but water play adds an extra element of fun and they will be motivated to work extra hard to stay on the move.
Beyond the health benefits, swimming provides your child with a boost of confidence. They can feel a surge of pride when they accomplish goals especially with lots of positive reinforcement. It is a great activity to do to bond parents with their children and it is all around fun and relaxing.
Overall, the Free Swimming baby Swim Float is a great option for your baby. I love that it prepares your baby to swim with the proper form. It is so important for your baby to learn to swim for personal safety, and starting them off in the right position is important for early swim instruction. The safety features in this floaty design are pretty awesome and you can feel a bit more at ease about your baby being safe in the water. Your child will gain confidence as they learn to move around in the water as easily as they can crawl or walk on land. With regular use, your child will learn to swim independently earlier than they would in a basic floatation device.