Parents, Exercise Caution With Those Popular Baby Neck Floats

Babies can look so cute doing pretty much anything, including lounging on a baby float. But the infant accessory isn’t just for fun; it’s also supposed to prevent infants from rolling into the water when they fall asleep by keeping them on their backs. Unfortunately, air-filled floats have become an all-too common sight at pools and beaches in recent years — and they’re actually incredibly dangerous, because any air-filled floatie can potentially deflate, putting kids at risk of drowning.

A neck float is designed for babies and toddlers to help them enjoy water activities such as swimming. Baby neck floats are also referred to as “water wings”, or “water wings for infants”, because many parents use these products with their babies in the bathtub and in pools. Some manufacturers claim that getting children in the water at a young age allows them to move freely and explore. While others agree that infants can enjoy water activities, experts are not convinced this is the way to do it.

Be aware that the use of neck floats in babies with special needs can lead to increased risk of neck strain and injury.

Baby neck floats are one trend parents should feel okay to skip: A better alternative is practicing “water confidence” with your little one through immersion and self-assurance—in other words, let him or her be on top of the water (with you nearby) as soon as he or she shows interest. While kicking with legs and arms is an important milestone for most babies around the 6-month mark, they will also start actively exploring their environment with hands by this age. This can include touching and playing with toys at bath time or sticking their hands in cups of water while they play on their backs.”

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