Neck floats for babies are a ‘death trap’, experts say

The STA, Birthlight and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all spoken out against the 'unsafe' hands-free floating aid...


We’ve been seeing more and more people use neck floats for their babies in pools.


At first, it seemed like they were just being used in places like baby spas – but the cuteness factor means they’re becoming more and more commonplace at bath time and on holiday.

But now, experts are saying that they’re definitely NOT safe to use. Quite the opposite, in fact, for 2 reasons.

Not only do they have the potential to deflate, meaning your baby could go under the water, but it’s also not advised to pop something around their neck that stops them from moving around.

What the experts say

Countless swimming safety pros and childrens’ docs have been chiming in to agree that neck floats aren’t the best way to get your baby in the water.

“While disengaging from the world in floating tanks can be wonderfully relaxing for stressed adults, this is not what babies want or need – physically or emotionally,” Kaylë Burgham, from the Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA), told The Independent.

“This isolated activity completely goes against the very essence of baby swimming, which is human contact: bonding with your child so they can explore the water in a safe, relaxed, fun environment.”

Pediatrics professor Kyran Quinlan, former chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council of Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention, said bluntly:

“Neck floats for babies scare me to death, and I hope they scare parents.

“These are potential death traps… to have your precious baby one poorly sealed seam away from going under at the pool is frightening.”

And Birthlight founder Francoise Freedman wrote in an April 2017 report on the subject:

“When babies hang vertically in water with their heads supported by a semi-rigid foam structure – particularly those under 5 months – concern arises about compression of the soft and subtle vertebrae in their necks, and strain in ligaments and muscles.”

We’ve also reached out to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to see if they’ve anything to add.

The MadeForMums view

While these strongly-worded comments shouldn’t put you off taking your baby swimming, we hope they put you off the idea of putting them in a neck float.

After all, there’s just no way to know how these floatation devices (often bought from sites like eBay) have been tested – or if they’ve even been tested at all.

Plus, who knows what the lasting effects would be on your little one’s neck?

That said, we do have a guide to safe swimming with your little one, that we hope you’ll find useful ?

Images: Instagram

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