Baby Neck Floaties May Look Cute, But Are They Safe? Experts Warn About Potential Dangers

Date August 14, 2018

The dangers of floating neck rings

Apparently, floating neck rings for infants are a thing. They haven’t been around for long, but they are becoming increasingly popular among parents.

You may have seen pictures of babies wearing inflatable rings around their necks and floating peacefully in pools. These pictures may look cute, and parents may assume that their little ones are safe with these things around their necks.

READ ALSO: Catherine Giudici Recalls The Scariest Moment Of Her Life When Her 2-Year-Old Son Almost Drown In A Pool

But what do experts have to say? They are not amused.

The UK’s Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA) warns parents against using these inflatable devices. Kaylë Burgham, STA’s Aquatics Manager, said:

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.

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.

This is only the psychological aspect. Experts at STA are also worried that inflatable neck rings may give parents a false sense of safety, which may lead to a lack of proper supervision on their part.

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Being put in an inflatable ring and floating aimlessly may be confusing and upsetting for a baby, and it may also be dangerous. Sarah Denny, MD, a pediatrician in the emergency department at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, spoke out against the use of these inflatable devices, as their safety is not proven. She told WebMD:

The devices might give parents a false sense of security – children could slip through and drown. This is not a U.S. Coast Guard-approved flotation device.

She added that neck floats may put a strain on babies’ necks, which can potentially lead to injuries.

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READ ALSO: 6-Year-Old Brothers Acted Like Adults To Save A 3-Year-Old Girl From Drowning

On top of all that, parents shouldn’t rely on neck floats or other inflatable devices to prevent drownings. The policy statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics reads:

Parents should be cautioned not to use air-filled swimming aids (such as inflatable arm bands) in place of PFDs (life jackets). These aids can deflate and are not designed to keep swimmers safe.

What parents can do to keep their children safe in the water

There’s only one way to ensure that babies are safe in the water: direct supervision. Parents should be in the water with their babies and keep an eye on them at all times.

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Older children also need close supervision when they are in the water. Parents should watch them throughout the time they remain in the water, even if the children have already learned to swim.

Assumptions often lead to accidents. Never leave your child in the water unsupervised if you want to keep him or her safe.

READ ALSO: Boy Nearly Drowned In A Crowded Pool, But One Vigilant Mom Realized What Was Happening And Jumped Into Action