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What size ring should I choose for my child?

If you have questions or your child is borderline in weight, email nancy@waterwaybabies.com and send your child’s neck measurement and a recent photo. You can measure the neck simply by using a piece of string or ribbon, then stretch it along a ruler.

What about support of the child’s body weight and possible strain on the neck?

90+ percent of body weight is supported by the water. There is no strain or traction to the neck. The neck ring is solely responsible for holding the head and airway safely above the water’s surface.

My child doesn’t move around very much – am I doing everything right? What can I do to stimulate my child?

Give it time. Every child will be different in their response to the warm water environment. If you have a PT or OT working with your child, ask them if they have any suggestions specific to your child. Be patient! 🙂

You can try things such as playing soothing classical music while your child is in the water. Dimming the lights in the room to a soft glow. Coaxing your child in a calm, gentle manner. One parent decided to add one of those portable whirlpool contraptions to blow bubbles that stimulated her child.

You can also gently extend your child’s arm or leg, one at a time alternatively – release and let their own natural reflexes draw the limb back into their body. Doing this in the water creates added resistance and results in better tone.

But mostly sit with your child, observe, take their lead, and enjoy the new-found freedom that the warm water environment gives your child.

You can buy my Activities Program to learn more stimulatory interventions to do with your child.

My child cries when I put her/him in the water. What am I doing wrong?

Every child is different, as we know, and although most love their baths and water experience, some are slower to warm up to anything new. Especially older kids who have developed fears or some special kids who are neurologically impaired. Remember this is new to them so even 5 minutes is a big accomplishment initially. Take it slow, be patient, don’t give up. If you are using in the bathtub, try getting in with your child to provide reassurance and security. This is an excellent opportunity for skin-to-skin time!

Can older teens use this neck ring?

Absolutely, yes! Teens especially appreciate their new-found freedom in the water without the need for harnesses, straps, belts ….or human touch.

What about adults?

The neck ring is especially useful for older adults who are physically frail or unstable in the water – as well as those with declined mental status. However, in such circumstances, it is highly recommended that a PT/OT accompany the person in the water at all times.
Adults who are physically capable often use the neck ring (along with ankle weights) to suspend independently in the deep end for light spinal traction. Additional benefits include 
  • gravity reduced setting and unloading skin, joints, and muscles
  • freedom of range of movement
  • decreased blood pressure 
  • increased volume of blood flow through the heart
  • decreased serum levels of inflammatory agents
  • complete relaxation, a sense of safety, and enhanced level of confidence in the water

What are the dimensions of the pool? And how big a child can use it?

The pool is 30 inches wide and 30 inches tall. If your older child has very poor tone, she/he can probably successfully use the pool even though she/he might be taller than 30 inches. Some kids have successfully used it to help with gait training because the water provides support and stability to them as they attend to stand or walk. Email nancy@waterwaybabies.com directly to inquire about your child’s needs and abilities. (The WaterWay pool is currently unavailable.)

Where do I place the pool? How long does it take to fill?

The pool can be set up and used anywhere that you have access to drain it after. You can also buy a longer drain tube (used with appliances) at Home Depot or your local hardware store for about $10. Make sure the room is warm and does not have a draft. Always observe your child’s color – not too pink (water is too warm), not blue or splotchy (water either too cool or child’s intolerance) – and your child’s temperament in the water…this should be a FUN experience, no heavy fussing or tears.

The pool should be drained after each use, cleaned and thoroughly dried before storing to prevent mold or bacterial growth. Some parents use the pool twice a day, then skip a day. In this case, you could simply add more warm water before the second session. Remember to use the pink fish thermometer to gauge the correct water temperature.

(The WaterWay pool is currently unavailable.)

Where can I buy ankle weights?

Very lightweight (1-2 lbs each leg max) can usually be found in the U.S. at Academy Stores, Walmart, or Target. I’m not sure about overseas. However, they can be purchased online as ‘women’s wrist weights’. The typical cost is less than $10 for a pair. The weights can be very helpful if your older child tends to throw his or her head and gulp water…or otherwise not stay upright as well as you would like. They also help a low-tone infant or child to obtain and maintain an upright position, rather than their legs always floating up. And they are useful for standing or walking along the pool bottom, which helps prevent osteoporosis. You should always get your child’s therapist’s approval before using the ankle weights and, even then, should never use them the entire water session. You might try putting only one weight on one ankle at a time and alternating. Generally, 1-lb weights are sufficient for a child up to age 4-5 yrs while 2-lbs can be used thereafter. Again…only with your therapist’s or pediatrician’s approval!

Can I return items I buy?

I’m very sorry, but I cannot generally accept returns. That is why I request that you email me first if you have any questions about sizing. As you can understand, the population of children I serve is medically fragile and therefore, I do not resell anything returned to anyone else. Please email me at nancy@waterwaybabies.com if you need any help with sizing. I’ve put the general weights with each size, but this does not account for different diagnoses (especially low tone, small necks such as SMA). Remember, the neck ring is holding your child’s airway out of the water and supporting his or her neck and chin, but not supporting all her weight. The water does that. So, please do not worry that your child’s weight will not be fully supported. And please, please do not size up! There should be no more than 1-inch between your child’s neck and the inner circumference of the neck ring.

*Warning: Never leave your child or loved one unattended in the water while using this device.*