Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tried and tested: The "starfish" float

Terence had been bugging me lately about buying this float that he saw in Parkway Parade. Many East-enders would gasp in horror when they hear this, but I hate going to Parkway Parade. It's the crowded carpark and equally crowded shopping mall--it just puts me in a lousy mood.

He finally dragged me there over the Father's Day weekend to buy the float. A debate ensued over the size to buy:
- Size A for age 1-2.5 and weight 8-13kg
- Size B for age 2-4 and weight 13-18kg

I'd have just grab Size A. But Terence weighed both the pros and the cons, plus the fact that Kai falls into both categories one way or another requires a well thought-out purchasing plan in his opinion. The bottomline, however, is that Kai weighs 10.5kg, never mind the age. So I made the 'executive decision': Size A please.

I was initially dismayed when we tried fitting "Starfish: The Original" swimming vest on dry land. It wouldn't buckle! I was reeling from the thought of having to drive back to Parkway Parade to exchange for the bigger vest.

"Never mind!" said my gungho husband, who then dragged us to the pool to try it out.

I'm glad we did! It was snug enough to give Kai the right support and buoyancy he needs, and he was paddling on his own in no time. It didn't give him a false sense of security either as he learnt quickly that there will be times when his chin/mouth might dip into the water. What's more, it isn't too bulky such that it restricts his hand movements.

And although he was excited, you could see he was frightened at the same time. We gave him plenty of encouragement along the way, and it was wonderful for us to see him enjoy the freedom in the water and paddle around independently. Terence said it was the best Father's Day highlight ever.

While I recommend this float highly, it is probably better for the toddler to be already comfortable in the pool and is paddling with the help of the parent. Throwing the vest onto a toddler who's new to the concept of swimming will be a bad idea.

We brought Kai to the pool when he was three months old, and you can catch how he has progressed over the years here.

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