‘Counting On’: This Photo of Jinger Duggar’s Daughter Sparked a Big Debate About Pool Safety

Jinger Duggar’s daughter Felicity is becoming quite the water baby. Recently, her proud dad Jeremy Vuolo shared a photo of the 1-year-old on the beach in Malibu. “Felicity is captivated by water, so for her it was paradise,” he wrote. Then, a few days later, he posted a pic of her floating in a pool. 

“Just a casual Saturday afternoon in the pool,” he wrote. But instead of a fun day splashing in the pool, some Counting On fans saw potential danger. 

Why Jeremy Vuolo’s photo had some ‘Counting On’ fans worried 

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Just a casual Saturday afternoon in the pool.

A post shared by Jeremy Vuolo (@jeremy_vuolo) on

Pool safety is a serious issue, and accidental drowning is a leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 4, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And based on the photo, it looked like Jeremy Vuolo and Jinger Duggar weren’t taking any risks. Smiling baby Felicity was wearing a puddle jumper as she floated in the pool. But some commenters had warned the Counting On couple that the flotation devices might not protect their daughter. 

“Please look up the dangers of having those puddle jumpers on, I know a friend on my Instagram whose son passed while drowning due to those being on,” wrote one person. 

“I noticed your daughter is wearing a floatation device and looks to be in a pool without fencing. I feel it’s important to direct you towards levislegacy.com which is a foundation created by a mom whose son died drowning in a pool. SHE thought a puddle jumper was safe but it provides a sense of false security for young children,” a commenter warned Jeremy. 

A few others thought puddle jumpers were no substitute for teaching a child to swim. “Puddle jumper use runs the risk of creating great comfort in the water for toddlers while also creating a risk for not having any understanding of how to survive in a pool with out it,” one person wrote. 

Others argued the puddle jumpers were safe 

While some people were worried that Felicity’s puddle jumper was putting her at risk, others argued that the devices were perfectly safe, provided an adult was supervising the child at all times. 

Puddle jumpers are “not dangerous as long as used correctly and the parents are right there,” one person said. 

“Obviously her parents are there with her lol. So chill,” another pointed out, while a few others made the case that the puddle jumpers were Coast Guard approved

What the experts say

mother and baby swimming
A mother and baby swimming | Andrey Nekrasov / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

When it comes to staying safe in a pool or around other water, supervision is key, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Drowning can happen in a moment, and kids under age 5 should remain within arm’s reach at all times. Flotation devices might seem like an extra layer of protection, but doctors say that’s not always the case. 

“Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as ‘floaties,’ the AAP warns. “They are not a substitute for approved life jackets and can give children and parents a false sense of security.”

However, Coast Guard-approved life jackets are a different story. “Small children and nonswimmers should wear life jackets when they are near water and when swimming,” according to the AAP. “Parents and caregivers should ensure that any life jacket is approved by the US Coast Guard.” So, if Felicity’s life jacket was Coast Guard approved, it sounds like Jinger and Jeremy are practicing smart water safety.

In addition to essential safety features like life jackets and pool fences and locks, parents can also help keep their kids safe by teaching them to swim. Even very young kids can benefit from swimming lessons, the AAP says. 

“Research has found that swim lessons are beneficial for children starting around age 1, and may lower drowning rates,” said Linda Quan, MD, FAAP, in a statement. However, swim lessons alone are not a substitute for other safety measures. “Swim lessons do not ‘drown proof’ a child,” notes a recent AAP policy statement.