FDA urges parents to stop using baby neck floats after one death and injury reported

FDA urges parents to stop using baby neck floats after one death and injury reported 1

If youโ€™ve ever seen a baby kicking around in the water while wearing a neck float, you know how adorable it is, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is urging parents to stop using the inflatable floating device with babies. Typically used for water therapy interventions, anย FDA reportย stated that one infant died and another was hospitalized after using a baby neck float.

โ€œThe risks of using baby neck floats include death due to drowning and suffocation, strain, and injury to a babyโ€™s neck. Babies with special needs, such as spina bifida or SMA Type 1 may be at an increased risk for serious injury,โ€ the FDA wrote in aย safety communicationย about the product. โ€œWhile the FDA believes that death or serious injury from neck floats is rare, health care providers, parents, and caregivers should be aware that these events can and do occur. It is also possible that some cases have not been reported to the FDA.โ€

Baby neck floats are typically used as a water therapy tool to help increase strength and motor development in infants. The FDA noted that both the child who died and the one who was hospitalized werenโ€™t being properly monitored by their caregivers; however, the agency has never given clearance nor approval for the product to be used as a water therapy tool. In fact, the communication clarifies that the โ€œsafety and effectiveness of neck floats to build strength, to promote motor development or as a physical therapy tool, have not been established.โ€


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Baby neck float makers claim that the products help โ€œincreased muscle tone, greater flexibility and a range of motion, increased lung capacity, better sleep quality and increased brain and nervous system simulation.โ€ The FDA has noted that all these claims are unproven.

In addition to water therapy, some parents use these types of products to help get their baby used to the waterโ€”whether thatโ€™s in the bath or the pool. โ€œSome neck floats are marketed for babies as young as two weeks old or premature babies and are designed to cradle a babyโ€™s head while their body moves freely in the water,โ€ the FDA explained.

But anytime an infant or toddler is in water or near water, they should always be monitored closely by a supervising adult, and never be more than an armโ€™s reach away. Infants and young children should never be left alone while in the bath, pool or near other open water.

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With summer here, floatation products like these may be purchased more frequently as families find ways to swim with their babies. There are other swim devices on the market, like puddle jumpers, which alsoย arenโ€™t as safe as they seem. Experts say that puddle jumpers train young children to swim in a vertical position instead of the life-saving horizontal position, and reliance on one from a young age can set up dangerous water habits that go against accepted water safety rules.

In fact, many experts expressly donโ€™t recommend using any type of floatation device for children in the water, as it can offer a false sense of security for both children and their caregivers.

โ€œThey should never replace adult supervision, which should be close, constant and capable,โ€ Dr. Sarah Denny, an associate clinical professor at Nationwide Childrenโ€™s Hospital,ย tells Motherly.

If youโ€™re in need of someย strong water safety tips, weโ€™ve got you, mama. And remember,ย swim lessons starting around age 1ย are the best way to ensure your child is safe andย confident in the water.


Author: thanhtam

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