Parents are being warned about the deadly risks of using baby neck floats, especially in babies with special needs during water therapy.
Baby neck floats are inflatable plastic rings that go around the baby’s neck and allow their body to float freely in the water.
The craze has been around for a few years, with products like Otteroo advertised as a pool and bath water toy.
Many baby neck floats are also advertised for use in physical therapy and water interventions, helping to build motor coordination and strength in babies who have developmental delays or special needs.
The problem is that baby neck floats also pose deadly safety hazards, like drowning, suffocation, and blood circulation problems in the neck.
The risk of injury or death is significantly higher for babies with special needs, such as spina bifida, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type 1, Down syndrome, or cerebral palsy, according to the FDA.
“The FDA is aware of one baby who died and one baby who was hospitalized related to the use of baby neck floats. In both cases the babies were injured when their caregivers were not directly monitoring them.”
Baby neck float safety risks
- If it is too wide the infant’s mouth and nose can be obstructed, which could lead to suffocation.
- If it too loose the baby could slip through altogether, which could lead to drowning.
- If any baby neck float is too tight the infant may find it difficult to breathe and the major blood vessels which deliver blood and oxygen to the brain could be blocked.
- If multiple children are in water together the water surface can become uneven and there is a risk of an infant tipping over or the device detaching from the baby.