Baby 'neck floats': Latest craze is 'potential death-trap', warn experts

Rachel Hosie
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They’re the latest baby accessory seen across the internet, but experts are warning of the dangers of baby “neck floats.”

The floats have the potential to be very dangerous because if they deflate, a baby could drown.

“Neck floats for babies scare me to death, and I hope they scare parents,” says Kyran Quinlan, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Rush University Medical Center and former chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention.

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

The neck floats have grown popular because many people think babies look cute in them, and parents have already posted thousands of pictures of their babies wearing the floats online.

Another appeal is that parents don’t have to get in the water and can simply watch their babies from the side.

The floats are mainly used in pools, baths and “baby spas.” Whilst introducing your baby to water is a good thing, experts say this isn’t the way to do so.

“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 of the Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA) said.

“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.”

The STA and Birthlight are just two of the UK major bodies involved in swimming teaching who are speaking out about the dangers of neck floats.

Francoise Freedman, the founder of Birthlight, has also warned that: “there are the potential risks linked to the frequent use of a neck device that claims total safety and apparent comfort for babies, yet deprives them of the freedom to move which we now know can have long term implications.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to avoid all air-filled flotation devices for babies too.

Two baby neck floats sold on eBay were recently recalled for failing to meet safety standards, and brands have previously had to recall their products after customers reported the seams bursting.

Although they may look cute, baby neck floats have the potential to be very dangerous and should be avoided.