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Buoyancy: Tips & Advice

Child in a Pink Hibiscus T-shirt Floatsuit

Giving your child the opportunity to learn to swim is one of the best gifts you can offer. Swimming is an essential life skill; it is also a great way to keep fit and healthy, and is a fun activity that all the family can enjoy together.

According to government guidelines, children should be able to swim 25 metres by the time they leave junior school, but statistics show that as many as one-third of pupils leave primary education at the age of 11 unable to swim independently. This puts more pressure on parents to make sure that their children can swim.

Gaining water confidence is key to enjoyment in the pool – this is where Konfidence can help. Our buoyancy products are designed to help your child gain confidence in the water at their own pace. The adjustable floatation system gives you peace of mind while they learn to swim and enjoy splashing about in the swimming pool or on holiday.

We have over 15 years' experience in designing and manufacturing premium, award-winning buoyancy wear. The Original Konfidence Jackets and UV-protective Floatsuits have been worn by tens of thousands of infants and children over the years, and have been praised by parents and swim teachers alike for their design and durability.

But with so many products on the market, it can be confusing to work out which ones you need. So naturally, we've received many questions over the years. To help alleviate the confusion we've put together a summary of the most commonly asked questions. If the question you want to ask isn't here, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click or tap a section to expand its contents.

Why did you design the Original Konfidence Jacket?

    • Like many products that are successfully brought to market, the Original Konfidence Jacket was created because we needed one! Back in 1996, most children who couldn't swim had to rely on armbands (water wings) to give them buoyancy. As we had three boys aged 5, 3 and 1, all of whom had enormous confidence but limited or no ability to swim, keeping them safe and afloat all at the same time was a challenge.

      There were few alternatives to armbands, so between 1996 and 1998 we researched and developed our own neoprene buoyant swimming aid. We tested it on our boys and children among our family and friends until we had a swimming jacket that did what we wanted.

      Our jacket gave our kids confidence in the water, freed them from restricting armbands, and enabled them to use their arms properly while they practised swimming or just had fun. It also gave us confidence that our kids could stay afloat, and if they got into trouble it would give us time to help them. We decided to launch this product, and in 1998 the Original Konfidence Jacket was finally born. Since then, the Konfidence Jacket has not only been bought by parents for their children, but has also been used by swim teachers for especially nervous swimmers, as well as in hydrotherapy sessions.

      We deliberately designed the signature back panel to be bright yellow so that if our little ones wandered off we could spot them easily. This was inspired by a day out at the seaside when our eldest boy was 6 and was jumping in and out of the sea. After 15 minutes of watching him, we felt a tap on the shoulder and looked around to see him standing behind us. We had been watching the wrong child!

Why would I choose a Konfidence Jacket or Floatsuit over armbands or rings?

    • When learning to swim, the arms need to be free. Although using armbands is good for supporting your child in the water, they will hinder progress in developing their swimming strokes.

      By placing the buoyancy around the tummy and back, our jackets and floatsuits are designed to allow youngsters to learn the art of swimming without feeling encumbered. With the correct fit, the jacket or floatsuit should feel very natural, and the child should stop noticing it after a few minutes in the water.

      Removing distraction and discomfort allows them to start experiencing the liberation of moving through the water freely under their own effort, which then encourages them to carry on developing this skill. Using the Original Konfidence Jacket or Konfidence Floatsuit helps youngsters to develop a good paddle action in the water.

      Rubber rings can also be cumbersome. They do not help your child to maintain the right swimming position in the water, and if they are the wrong size they will hinder, rather than enhance, swimming progress.

      We've also found that older children dislike wearing armbands or using a rubber ring because they consider them too "babyish". Our jackets, with their removable hidden floats, are available from 18 months of age all the way up to adult size, which means that they are very popular with children and youths who are still gaining their confidence in the water. Also, the waistcoat design means that adults feel less self-conscious than they may otherwise feel when using other swimming aids.

What are the main benefits of a Konfidence Jacket or Floatsuit?

    • Our proven adjustable buoyancy system enables wearers to gain confidence in the water at their own pace. When your child is ready to move on to the next level, you can remove each of the floats so that they rely less on the buoyancy aids, until before they know it they are swimming all by themselves!

      Parents also love the signature high-visibility yellow on the back of the Original Konfidence Jacket, because it means that they can keep an eye on their little ones more easily, both at the beach or the swimming pool. The UV protection – 100% protection on the Konfidence Jacket, 30+ UPF on the swimsuit-style Floatsuit and 50+ UPF on the T-shirt style Floatsuit – also ensures that delicate young skin is defended from harmful sun rays.

What makes Konfidence's products different?

    • We pride ourselves on designing and manufacturing buoyancy products and swimming aids that are of the highest quality. Our award-winning designs have been developed in conjunction with swimming teachers, swim schools and parents to ensure that every Konfidence product is as durable, comfortable and easy to use as possible.

      We listen to our customers and believe that our unique approach has enabled us to continuously develop our products so that they just get better and better. Customers tell us that they love our attention to detail.

      The Original Konfidence Jacket has been designed for both safety and comfort in the water. It is made from 2.5 mm thick neoprene and has a soft Lycra float chamber lining so that it feels soft next to the skin, helping wearers to stay warmer for longer in the water compared with other products. The elasticity of the Lycra also allows for easy removal of the floats and helps it to retain its shape. The neoprene and nylon laminate that covers it are specifically chosen, both for their flexibility and durability as well as their chlorine-resistant properties. This is obviously essential for a product that will be used mainly in chlorinated water.

      Other design features include an internal zip guard to prevent the chunky YKK zip from rubbing against the skin and suit, plus an external Velcro zip guard to stop little fingers fiddling. The high neck maximises thermal and sun protection, while the wide shoulders ensure a more secure fit. Naturally, for a high quality, premium swimming aid, the Original Konfidence Jacket complies with the latest EU rules on safety, EN13138: Buoyant Aids for Swimming. Many cheaper alternatives do not do so.

      The premium quality Floatsuit is designed specifically to hold the wearer in the correct position to aid swimming, staying "fixed" on the body. Made from quick-drying close-knit Lycra, it also includes a soft Lycra float chamber lining, which makes it much more comfortable against youngsters' delicate bare skin than polyester or nylon. The elasticity of the Lycra also allows for easy removal of the floats and helps it to retain its shape. The range also includes a T-shirt style Floatsuit, which covers the shoulders and has a higher neckline.

How do I choose between a Konfidence Jacket and Floatsuit?

    • As both the Konfidence Jacket and the Floatsuit offer the same in terms of buoyancy and feature the same removable float system, it’s simply a matter of taste and design preference.

      Both products offer tailored buoyancy, enabling the wearer to gain confidence in the water and helping children to learn to swim safely. The Floatsuit is ideal for those who prefer the traditional swimming costume style, or the T-shirt style which covers the shoulders and has a higher neckline.

      When fitted correctly, the Original Konfidence Jacket fits perfectly in place and does not ride up under the wearer's chin, thereby holding the child in the correct position to aid swimming.

      For some people, being able to take the Jacket off when not in use is a useful feature, while for others the fact that the Floatsuit is a swimsuit and remains on the wearer at all times is a benefit.

Can I use the buoyancy products in swimming lessons?

    • In many cases, swimming teachers prefer to use handheld floats because they encourage children to use their natural buoyancy. Sometimes, however, teachers use our products in lessons to support specific learning tasks, for example, to give children support while they teach breathing techniques or to perfect a stroke.

      As children are only typically at swimming lessons for 30 minutes to one hour a week, the Konfidence Jacket and Floatsuit are ideal for kids to use for practising what they have learned outside of lessons. Most mums and dads aren't' swim teachers, so the Konfidence Jacket and Floatsuit give them the confidence to allow their children to practise and explore their ability.

Is the Original Konfidence Jacket a life jacket?

    • No. The Konfidence Original Jacket is classed as a 'buoyant aid to swimming'. This means that it provides buoyancy to keep the wearer on the surface but does require some input from him/her, such as leg or arm movements.

      A life jacket is an extremely technical product that is designed to tip the wearer backwards when submersed in water, thereby holding their head out of the water. This is especially important if the wearer is rendered unconscious. A life jacket is far more restrictive and is not suitable for swimming.

      If a life jacket is required, we strongly recommend that you buy one from a reputable company. If you would like more information or the name of a reputable supplier, please do not hesitate to contact us.