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If you have a pool or if you go to a community pool regularly, you probably want the entire family to enjoy the time together. For instance, one way that this has taken place is with an inflatable plastic ring that is worn around the neck of the child.

Undoubtedly, these neck floats have been enjoyed by many families, but they now come with a serious warning. Due to the death of one baby and the hospitalization of another after using baby neck floats, the FDA has gotten involved.


According to the warning from the FDA, parents, caregivers, and healthcare providers should not be using neck floats in water therapy situations. That is especially true of children who may have special needs, such as spinal muscular atrophy, cerebral palsy, or Down Syndrome.

These neck floats are commonly used by parents for their babies while in the swimming pool or even while bathing. They are also used by therapists for babies that have developmental delays and certain disabilities.

Although the FDA has issued a strong warning to parents and caregivers, they are not recalling baby neck floats at this time. They just want those who care for babies, especially for those with special needs, to be aware of the situation and to heed the warning.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A safety communication was written about baby neck floats by the FDA. It stated:

“The risks of using baby neck floats include death due to drowning and suffocation, strain, and injury to a baby’s neck. Babies with special needs such as spina bifida or SMA Type 1 may be at an increased risk for serious injury. While 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.”

Photo: PublicDomainPictures/shao peng

* Do not use baby neck floats for water therapy intervention. The use of these products, especially with babies with developmental delays or special needs, can lead to death or serious injury.

* Be aware that the use of neck floats in babies with special needs can lead to an increased risk of neck strain and injury.

* Be aware that these neck floats have not been evaluated by the FDA and we are not aware of any demonstrated benefit with the use of neck floats for water therapy interventions.

Photo: flickr/John Drake

They would also like you to report any injuries caused by neck floats to the FDA.

Although it is important for parents and caregivers to monitor children when they are using neck floats, it is also important to watch them anytime they are in the water to prevent drowning.