Last summer my friend, and a fellow OVM Nina, offered an unknown swimming device to me for my, at the time, not quite 4 year old daughter. Instead of swimming in a life jacket or arm floaties, the Puddle Jumper combined the best of both those devices for helping a child learn to swim!
The Puddle Jumper is a product made by Coleman Canada, known for their fantastic camping and outdoor gear. The concept is: arm floaties attached to a section of fabric covered foam that goes across the child’s chest. You attach it around the child by an adjustable strap and single clasp closure. It is easy on and easy off without having the bulkiness of a life jacket when trying to swim, and without the hassle of having to blow up or deflate arm floaties constantly.
The Puddle Jumper gives the child the freedom to swim independently, while the stability of their head above water and helping them keep a float. My daughter took to this immediately! She loved to swim, but was not confident on her own, and the arm floaties were not quite enough for her at the time. She used it all that summer, and was able to swim about by herself, without our help and was loving the water! This summer at almost 5, she was still able to use the Puddle Jumper, although the strap is extended to its full capacity, the arms and front floatation still fits perfectly.
The Puddle Jumper by Coleman Canada is for sale at Canadian Tire Stores across Ontario. They retail for $29.99 (and there is a 3D version that retails for $36.99) and come in a multitude of colours and patterns for both boys and girls alike. The reviews on the Canadian Tire Website are all 5 stars! The weight restrictions are outlined for children 30-50lbs.
I would highly recommend the Puddle Jumper to anyone looking for a great swimming aid for their child. *You cannot expect that this device will teach your child how to swim on their own, nor can this be treated as a life saving device in replacement of a life jacket.* But with proper instruction and adult supervision, the Puddle Jumper not only builds confidence in their swimming abilities, but allows them to learn the motions of swimming while having fun in a brightly coloured, fun design! When I return this to Nina, I will be most definitely buying one for my son for when he is ready to learn to swim! Definite thumbs up in this household!