7 Tips for Parents Considering Giving their Child Goggles
When is the right time to give my child goggles?
This question is widely debated among parents and swimming instructors alike, and one there isn’t exactly a right or wrong answer to (sorry, we led you on!)
We've spent ten years teaching little ones to swim so we know that every child is different and will develop swimming skills at their own rate, but there are a few helpful points that will help guide you about when to use swimming goggles for children:
Most experts agree that goggles should not be worn by children under the age of two-years-old. Around three and up is the ideal age. Under twos should not wear goggles; babies are born with built-in reflexes which makes them hold their breath and open their eyes underwater, making goggles unnecessary at this young age.
Consider: Goggle dependence
This can become a problem if children are presented with goggles at a young age i.e. between 2-3 years old. Many a toddler has been known to develop a sudden aversion to putting their face in the water, despite having done it plenty of times as a baby. At this point it is tempting to give the child googles to encourage them to put their face back in the water, and this can be a very effective strategy. However it is still important to encourage your child to swim for periods of time without goggles on to discourage dependency, otherwise you can end up with a child who refuses to get into the water without them.
Consider: Stinging eyes
One benefit of wearing swimming goggles, especially during longer swimming sessions, is the protection they provide against aggravation to the eyes. Swimming pool water contains chlorine which can cause reddening and soreness of the eyes, making goggles a very useful swim-bag item. Once again, however, it is worth restricting your child’s use of goggles to shorter swimming sessions of 20-30 minutes to prevent them from losing confidence when swimming without them.
Consider: Swimming lessons
Swimming instructors are not permitted to put goggles on a child; this has to be done by a parent, which has led to some swimming instructors not allowing the use of goggles during lessons. This is something to bear in mind if you’re looking to enrol your child on a swimming course, as they may have to quickly get used to swimming without goggles. We'd advise letting older children aged 6+ take their goggles into the lesson but warn them to take them on and off themselves rather than asking the instructor.
Goggles are a great accessory for boosting confidence and preventing soreness of the eyes, however it’s worth bearing in mind that, should your child accidentally fall into the water while out and about, it is unlikely they’ll be wearing goggles. This is another reason why learning to swim underwater without goggles is a huge plus for all children, as you never know when these skills might be unexpectedly tested. We'd always recommend that 0-7s wear a float suit around water.
Consider: Fitting them properly
In order for your child to get the most out of their goggles when they do wear them, they need to fit properly. Check the age label on any new pair of goggles and put some time into making sure you fit them to your child’s head correctly using the adjustable straps. They should rest comfortably over the eyes without too much pressure placed on the eyes or head.
The best piece of advice is to have fun swimming, with or without goggles! Now you’ve got all the serious information you need, it’s time to get in the water and start having some fun! Goggles and face masks are great for playing lots of confidence-boosting underwater games, such as fetching dive toys from the bottom of the pool, underwater object hunts and underwater races.
Exploring underwater adds a whole new dimension to swimming for toddlers and young children, and a wearing good pair of goggles every once in a while can help add that little extra comfort and confidence while they learn – take a look at our fantastic range of goggles and masks here at the Baby Swimming Shop and let the fun begin!