Experts Say Popular Baby Neck Floats Are ‘Potential Death Traps’

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Best to think twice before trying this seemingly-adorable summer activity.

“Baby neck floats” can be seen popping up all over social media, but these tiny swim aids shouldn’t go anywhere near infants’ necks, experts say as any air-filled floatie may potentially deflate, putting kids at risk of drowning.

“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.”

Baby neck floats first gained popularity a few years back, and parents now regularly use them in bathtubs, pools and even “baby spas.”

Manufacturers say that getting children in the water at a young age allows them to move freely and explore while others agree that babies can enjoy water activities, they’re not convinced this is the way to do it.

“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,” said Kaylë Burgham of the Swimming Teachers’ Association in a statement. “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.”

Even if the neck rings have these benefits, the potential risk is one experts can’t get behind. The AAP cautions against any air-filled swimming aids at all  as any deflation immediately takes away their buoyancy.

While the AAP does not recommend formal infant swimming programs, you may enjoy water activities with your baby by staying in direct contact them at all times and avoiding any distractions that may draw away your focus.

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