Flotation and aquatic toys come in various shapes, sizes and materials and are popular with children for playing in water. Flotation toys can also help children stay afloat while they play. These toys come in styles that children can:
attach to their bodies
hold on to
Flotation and aquatic toys can include but are not limited to:
inflatable novelty shapes
inflatable toy boats for shallow water
unattached rings—complete or partial.
Flotation and aquatic toys are not safety devices. Children who cannot swim could drown if their aquatic toy fails or if they do not use it properly. The risk of drowning also increases if a child gets injured while playing with a toy in the water.
A competent adult should constantly watch children playing with flotation and aquatic toys. As children are still developing, they generally have limited motor (brain to muscle) coordination and are not able to judge potentially dangerous situations or react to them in time.
50 children aged up to 17 years old drowned in Australia from July 2008 to June 2009. Almost two thirds were under 5 years old.
Around 32 children under 5 years old drown in Australia every year on average.
38 emergency department visits were recorded for injuries involving children’s flotation aids and aquatic toys between 2004 and 2008 in Victoria alone. Cases were most common for children up to 4 years old, followed by children between 10 and 14 years old.