20 OctSwimming Armband History & Safety Tips

Learning to swim can be a daunting task especially for younger people. The feeling of safety in a swimming pool can be a disadvantage when learning to swim without swimming armbands as younger children become dependent on them. The moment it is time for the armbands to be removed is when the person masters the hardest part of learning to swim – confidence.

That said, when is it truly the correct time for the armbands to be removed? It is one of those questions which is highly debatable. Many people argue the fact that it is down to when the person who is learning to swim is at their most comfortable in the water whilst others disagree.


History on the armband

Back in 1907, swimming was introduced as part of the school curriculum and this caused parents and guardians to become concerned over the safety of their children. The response from these concerns came from a London based company called Dean’s Rag Book Company who came up with a design which they labeled the Swimeesy Buoy. The original design of inflatable armbands was shaped like a pair of butterfly wings with distinct colours.

The advances of the armband came into play in 1956 when Bernhard Markwitz from Germany invented inflatable armbands for swimmers. The idea came to him when his three year old daughter fell into a pond and almost drowned. He felt that swimming rings were a safer options than the current butterfly winged shape armbands, hence the now more circular design which we see today.

Safety Standards & Tips

Although the swimming armband is commonly referred to as a life saving device, it is in fact a training aid. Wearing armbands help people float to increase their confidence in the water. When purchasing a set of armbands, it is vital that you ensure they are the correct size. Due to the rubbery material they are made from, when this material comes into contact with the water it develops a slippery surface causing the armbands to slip off which could lead to drowning.

There are many safety standards put in place in today’s modern world. All inflatable armbands must pass a range of assessments such as puncture resistance and the level of buoyancy retained after a certain time beyond the valve being opened and left open. This test is used to prevent inflatable swimming armbands from suddenly deflating if the valve accidently opens.

Labelling on the armbands state that they are not life saving devices and that people who are using the armbands are subject to consistent supervision. The label on an armband also states that the supervisor must constantly be in arms reach length of the person who is wearing the inflatable.

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