A few weeks ago, we had the chance to visit Alton Towers as part of our role as Konfidence Swimologists during 2017. During our mini-break, we were able to stay at the brand new CBeebies Land Hotel, visit the main theme park and CBeebies Land, plus also check out the waterpark at the Splash Landings Hotel – the latter being what I’m going to focus on in this post.
The main reason for the visit was to try out some of the Konfidence toddler swim gear that we’d been sent earlier this year – particularly the multi-award winning Original Konfidence Swim Jacket. We’ve used Konfidence gear (AquaNappy and NeoNappy, as well as Babywarma and Roll & Go Baby Changer) ever since Toddler L started swimming lessons with Water Babies, so this gave us the chance to try out another one of their products in a different environment.
We had a fab time at Splash Landings and I was hugely impressed with the swim jacket – it not only gave Toddler L confidence in the water, but it gave me confidence too. Obviously words can only do so much, so I’ve put together a little video of our time at Splash Landings to show you a bit more of the waterpark and the Konfidence swim gear in action:
The Original Konfidence Swim Jacket
Buoyancy jackets have increased in popularity over the years – thanks in part to the Original Konfidence Swim Jacket. First released in 1998, it has scooped multiple awards and become a bestselling buoyancy swimming aid all around the world.
Toddler L has the Marthas Red Stripe & Frills design (others are available) in size 18 months to 3 years. With red and white stripes, blue piping and white frills with red polka dots, it kind of has a 1930’s bikini-style vibe to it which is pretty cool. Down the front is a chunky blue zip which is big enough for a toddler’s small hands.
The back of the jacket features a bright yellow, high-visibility panel along with the familiar Konfidence logo. This makes your little one easier to spot and allows you to keep an eye on them when in a busy location – well, as long as your kid is the only one wearing one!
The Original Konfidence Swim Jacket is actually made from high-grade soft neoprene and soft Lycra binding – this helps to minimise chafing but also provide a snug and secure fit for the wearer. It also has a high neck design which maximises thermal and UV properties – in fact, the jacket is 100% UV protective which is great when wearing them outside.
The ‘magic’ is inside the jacket though where there are eight internal float pockets which provide that buoyancy element. Rather than, say, armbands, which can be uncomfortable, restrictive and create an unnatural swim position, the jacket places these around the wearer’s torso. This means that the buoyancy is provided below the water line, allows the wearer to get into a horizontal swim position and frees up their arms to practice proper swimming strokes.
Cleverly, the Original Konfidence Swim Jacket also adjusts with your kid’s swimming skill level. As they get better, you can remove the internal floats, which reduces the buoyancy of the jacket and pushes them towards being an independent swimmer. We’ve not removed any of them yet, but it’s really useful to know that it can be tailored and grows with your kid.
Toddler L hasn’t used buoyancy aids on her swimming journey to date. So far, in line with what is taught at Water Babies, the aid she gets when swimming is mainly through me supporting her with a hand or by using something like a pool noodle during a particular exercise. The focus is on learning the skills and technique to swim, not just sticking armbands on and throwing them in the pool.
It’s different when in an unstructured environment though. Being at a splash park or at the beach is more about letting her explore, play and do her own thing around water. I don’t want to hold her back, but as water can be so dangerous, I need to know that she’s safe. This is where something like the Original Konfidence Swim Jacket really come into its own – it provides confidence and safety to both kid and parent.
Our visit to Splash Landings at Alton Towers was the first time she’s been able to use the jacket properly. Teamed up with her usual AquaNappy and NeoNappy, we spent a good couple of hours in the water park having splashy fun. We’d not been to the Splash Landings waterpark before, so were hugely impressed with the scale and variety of things to do.
Going with a toddler obviously ruled out a number of things due to height restrictions – for instance, Toddler L was too small / young for the likes of Master Blaster, Volcano Springs, Bubbly Wubbly Pool and Rush and Rampage. However, we still got to explore plenty of things including the Wacky Waterworks Tree House, The Tipping Bucket, The Little Leak and Lagoona Bay. Had it not been for closing time, we’d have spent even longer there.
Anyway, back to the Original Konfidence Swim Jacket. Having tried it at Splash Landings, I was hugely impressed. It looked good, was really well made, but most importantly, it worked perfectly in the water. For the first time ever, the jacket allowed her to swim on her tod. No need to hold onto me or onto a pool noodle – she could simply swim by kicking her legs and moving her arms as the jacket gave her that much needed buoyancy. She could go where she wanted and do what she wanted, safe in the knowledge that the jacket was aiding her.
Not only did it give her confidence, but it gave me it too. Without the jacket, I would have been following her really closely and she’d be attached to me in the water. But with it on, I could see that she was comfortable, happy and safe, which in turn reassured me. I’m therefore pretty confident in saying that this independence made Splash Landings even more fun for us all. She was ‘free’ and we got enjoyment from seeing her be ‘free’.
At £25, I think the Original Konfidence Swim Jacket is really reasonably priced considering that it can be used both inside and outside, as well as in a number of different water-based scenarios. I’ve been really impressed with the jacket and it’ll be something that we ensure we pack when heading to the beach, splash park or a hotel swimming pool outside of Water Babies lessons. Having seen how confident Toddler L was in the water when wearing it, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
As Konfidence Swimologists for 2017, I’ve been given a discount code to share with you guys if you want to purchase the swim jacket or anything else from their online shop. You can get 10% off with the discount code DADVS1710.
Disclosure: We were provided with a complimentary stay at Alton Towers and the Original Konfidence Swim Jacket was sent to me by Konfidence with the purpose of writing an honest review in exchange for the product.