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Puddle Jumper Review

Puddle Jumper Review

The Puddle Jumper by Stearns might be my new best friend.  I seriously love this thing.  I have an active 3 year old who’s in the pool almost every day of the summer.  I want him to be a confident swimmer but I constantly worry about his safety and this is the first floatation device that’s really worked for us.  Prior to the Puddle Jumper we tried regular swimmies, life vests and a floatsuit (looks like a body suit lined with floatation padding).  I wasn’t crazy about any of them.  The swimmies were okay but at the time (two years old) he needed more stability.  He flopped and flailed a lot in them and had a hard time correcting himself if he leaned to far in one direction.  The swimmies also shifted too much on his little arms and I was afraid he might actually slip them off.  The life vest and floatsuit seemed more promising but we couldn’t get a good fit on either.  The life vests in particular rode high on his shoulders, which was uncomfortable and restricted his movement.  With both of them he had a tendency to fall forward so that his body was horizontal to the water.  In this position he had to constantly jerk his head back in order to keep his face out of the water.

Then we discovered the Puddle Jumper and the pool got a lot more fun!  The Puddle Jumper looks like a pair of swimmies that are attached by a floatation band.  The child’s arms go through the swimmies, the floatation band goes in the front and it’s secured with a buckle on their back.   Right out of the shoots the Puddle Jumper fit better than anything else we’d tried.  It’s easy to put on and seems quite comfortable.  The adjustable buckle provides a secure fit and can be expanded as your child grows – this is our second year using our Puddle Jumper and it still fits great and has held up beautifully.  (I’ve heard that the armbands can be a little tight on kids with extra chunky arms but this has not been a problem for us at all).  The buckle holds the device securely in place and makes it very difficult (although not impossible) for a child to remove.  But the best part of the Puddle Jumper is how well it works.  After just one use, Luke was visibly more confident and stable.  The armbands promote an upright position in the water while the front band helps keep their head up and prevent them from falling forward (good neck control is still required though).  The combination of stability plus good range of motion gave Luke the freedom and confidence to really swim instead of just clinging tight to mom or dad.  It was so fun to watch his delight as he learned he could actually propel himself through the water!  Last year when he was 2, I felt the need to be within arms reach at all times, even with the Puddle Jumper.  Now at 3 Luke’s grown more capable and far more independent.  With this device he can jump and swim and “tread water” all by himself (with me watching like a hawk of course!).  It’s done wonders for his confidence as well as my peace of mind.  The Puddle Jumper is a great device and I would highly recommend it to anyone who has young kids.

Note: For an index of other products I’ve reviewed, please see: http://youngmotherhubbard.com/index/reviews-2/

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