Swim Ring - Pros and Cons

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A swim ring is a cheap and durable item of swimming equipment that is ideal for the non-swimmer.  It is used mainly by children as a way of enhancing their confidence the water. 

The aid is worn around the body of the child and like armbands, it can restrict arm movements.  It does however allow full movement and freedom of the legs.

It is vitally important to take into consideration the size of the child to be put into the ring.  The child has to be large enough and strong enough to be able to support themselves within the ring.

If they are not strong enough or big enough, they will simply slip through.  An alternative buoyancy aid should be considered, such as arm bands or a swimming vest.

This type of swimming floatation aid is very old fashioned but is still popular due to its low cost and durability.  It's also very quick and easy to fit and remove, making it all round very convenient. 

Swim Ring Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Allow the child's face to be kept clear of the water. They can be kept at a safe level above the water surface, reducing the risk of taking water into the mouth or nose.
  • Cheap to buy and easy to deflate and store away.
  • Gives complete freedom of the legs allowing the child to kick underwater. 


  • Can be insecure and some children can slip through. An alternative floatation aid should be used if the child is too small.
  • Is usually restrictive for the arms and therefore does not allow the child to develop a feel for the water.
  • Promotes a vertical body position. At an early age this is not an issue, but as the child grows and becomes stronger they need to experience a more horizontal swimming position.  Therefore an alternative swimming aid should be used, such as swim noodle. 

Where to buy one?

swim ring for learning to swim

There are many swimming rings to chose from that will appeal to different children, including animal and character themed rings.

The one pictured here is a basic example.

Click here for more details
UK visitors click here for my swim ring recommendation.

Children should be supervised at all times when in the swimming pool, regardless of which swimming aid they are wearing and regardless of their confidence level or swimming ability.

As with any swimming aid a child can become dependent on it.  As they grow and develop children should be encouraged to try different buoyancy aids, or even try some swimming without any floatation aids.

It is recommended that swimming without any buoyancy aids is done under the guidance of a qualified swimming teacher.