Saturday, May 29, 2010

Managing young twins at the pool

The pools are opening for the season - summer is here! With that, comes some concerns about safety and managing young children around water, especially twins. Below is advice given to a club mom by other CMOTC moms on managing young twins and an older child at the pool.


Question from CMOTC mom:

I have 18 month old twins. Summer is coming and I would really like to be able to take them swimming during the day. We have a pool available to us that is at 0 depth which is great. However, with my 6 year old swimming around also, my head would need another set of eyes for sure. I am just worried a lot about swimming with my new walkers near water. Well truthfully many places scare me with my new walkers but especially water! Anyway, I am thinking of doing swim vests? Pricey?? Worth it?? Other suggestions?? So is this possible to do alone?? Has anyone given this a go??

Advice from CMOTC moms:

This will be my first year swimming with my 18 month twins and 2 1/2 year old! I purchased two baby boats. The vests help when they are learning to swim but don't fully support them enough to keep them floating. One boat I found @ Once Upon A Child for $10. The other I
found on craigslist for $5. Just make sure they are wide around so they won't tip over. Good luck!


We used Spring Floats with ours a lot. They really seemed to like them. Here is what they look like:
I know you can find them around cheaper than this though. I think I found them at Kohl's, Target and Meijer. They work well because they get most of their bodies in the water and there is also a canopy (which can be removed) to keep some direct sun off of them. They are easy for you to maneuver too :)

Good luck! I was scared to take mine near water by myself too once they
were walking but this helped!


We bought swim vest's at Costco, they were coast guard approved and kept them floating just in case. The vest's are for jetski's, or at least that's how they were marketed on the packaging. We then bought them the next size up, this year they will be four and we have signed them up for swim class. Before that it's best to get them use to the water, try to show them some of the basics, splashing their face so they won't be afraid, and yes sometimes letting them (when supervised) swim without it so they realize they are not super baby compared to the water. Also consider getting a mother's helper too, someone young will have fun playing with your 6 year old.


I don't have any major revelations to share with you but I do want to let you know I did this a few times last summer with my four boys so it is manageable. Last year my boys were 6, 3, and the twins were 20 months. We get a membership to Mingo pool in Delaware (where we live) so I never felt like I had to go and stay all day to make it worth our money. When we'd leave the house, I'd tell my 6 and 3 yr old that we were probably going to only stay for 2 rest periods (~1.5 hrs) and that my older son was not allowed to swim in the deeper pools. Mingo Pool has a 0 depth pool too but it joins into three other swim areas the deepest being ~ 4ft. He was allowed in that part b/c he knows how to swim enough to get around and I felt comfortable that I was able to keep an eye on him. Then they have a separate lap pool and a separate diving well. If one of his friends were there, I would let him go in the lap pool if they stayed together. My 3 year old was pretty good about sticking close to me or within the areas I could see him and where he could reach the bottom. He seemed to know his swimming limitations better than the twins. So, I just stuck around with the twins. We brought a few toys to sit and play with in a shallow area.

They loved using paint brushes (the big ones you use to paint walls with) to "brush" the sidewalk with water and I'd throw one or two of those squishy water balls around the pool for them to get and bring back. Mingo also has a little water slide in the shallow pool (~1 - 2ft water) and
fountains along the pool entry so they kept busy with those as well.

I will admit I was usually ready to nap along with them when we got home but we all love the pool so I didn't want to just sit at home every summer day wishing we were there. We had a "blow-up" rectangular pool set up in our backyard too so if they wanted to swim more or I didn't have the energy to take them to Mingo, they could just play in there. We did also skip the day trip and go in the evenings quite a bit when my husband could come along and help supervise. There were also certain days or hours that daycare centers or summer camps were there and I tried to avoid those times. It was much easier to keep everyone in check without the extra crowds.

Regarding the vests, I believe our pool has a restriction against flotation devices which is why I didn't use them. If I could have, I probably would have invested in them just so I would feel a little less stressed if one of them wandered into the deeper water. Hope this helps and feel free to let me know if you have any other questions.


What worked for me was a one piece suite that had a floatation ring around the middle. When they jumped in the ring would move to under the armpits as the material was stretch fabric. It kept the kids afloat if they wandered or jumped in the deep end. My twins had no fear of water. We used them probably for 3 years so for us it was a wise investment. It was really worth the money to keep sanity. My kids were slow growers so they lasted a long time. I find the life vests were too bulky for the kids to move around much. While what we used was not approved for boating it did keep them floating and got them swimming.


The only recommendations I have is that for the twins to get the life jackets with "pillows" on the back of the neck because it is said that young children will give up as far as holding their heads up, and the "pillows" will do that for them if they get in a serious situation. I learned this from my sister who does fund-raisers for parents trying to get the word out on how on water safety (after their son died). But, also, don't get the kind with removable internal pads. They come out too easily.


Any other advice on swim gear and managing kids at the pool? Please share!


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