The “floating neck collar”– Your baby can swim!

The Pediatric Insider

© 2013 Roy Benaroch, MD

Continuing what one commenter described as my “personal vendetta” against unsafe baby products, I’ve found something even worse. You might think kooky Dr. Roy is just making this up, but it’s for sale at Amazon: a floating inflatable neck collar thing to keep Junior’s head, and only his head, above the water! Only $6.07!

The full name, from Amazon’s listing, is “YOUR BABY CAN SWIM! Inflatable Learner Swim Float/Swimming Float Neck Collar – Offers best protection for your Child/Baby while they REALLY learn to swim! Color & Design May Vary.” [sic, their caps, I lack their knack for product naming.] It’s yellow or pink, and it seems to fit tightly around a baby’s neck. Because tight plastic rings around baby’s neck are what safety is all about.

Among the product features and claims (I’ll leave out the [sic]. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel here. Fish with little inflatable collars around their little fish necks.):

“lexibility of use at home in our Baby pool, in the bathtub, the water level should always be high enough so your baby’s feet can only touch the bottom of a pool/bathtub”

“Suitable for babies 3-18 months old.”

“Your baby will learn to swim in no time.”

“Provides a sense of security and comfort for you baby in the water.”

OK, just for the record, do NOT fill up a bathtub for a 3 month old baby all the way up so his feet just touch the bottom. Do not trust this thing to keep his head above the water. Don’t trust anything to keep a baby’s head above the water other than you, sitting there and helping and playing during bathtime.

And: your baby won’t learn to swim with an inflated collar holding his head up. He will learn to dangle in the water like seaweed under a buoy.

And: for those of you with toddlers, can you imagine even trying to put this on your 18 month old? Here, Junior, let me put this inflated ring around your neck so you can float around the pool like a ducky chlorine dispenser.

There are currently 50 comments on this thing, including several from people complaining that they sent it in pink instead of a “boy color.”  Other people pointed out that it’s fun and cute. A few reviewers said that their baby drowned in it, or that they knew a baby who died in it, which may be an unacceptable trade-off– especially if it comes in the wrong color.

Seriously, folks, this thing is a death-trap. Sure, go swim with your baby—and use those things called your arms, and common sense, to keep your child upright and safe and happy in the pool. You cannot depend on a $6.07 inflatable ring to keep your baby alive.

 

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31 Comments on “The “floating neck collar”– Your baby can swim!”

  1. Carrie Buchanan Says:

    This may be the most frightening and horrifying things I have ever seen. I can’t even believe that it was put into production! Who in their right mind would think of something like this for a baby and then put it around their neck??? To any parent who would even CONSIDER putting this around a child’s neck – shame on you. To the producers & developers of this product – shame on them for doing anything for money. Ugh. This is completely disgusting. Thanks Dr.Roy for you research and common sense.

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  2. luke Says:

    I’m very appreciated for this blog. Its an informative topic. That help me a lot to solve a number of problems. Their opportunity are very fantastic and dealing style so speedy. I think it may be help all of you. Many thanks.

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  3. Dr. Roy Says:

    luke’s comment is obviously spam, but I liked it anyway. It’s almost… poetic. Approve!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dr. Roy Says:

    OK, this post is almost a year old…. yet today I’ve got about 5,000 hits directly here to this page, almost all from Google. Why?? Not that I mind the hits, but why are so many of you searching for “neck swim collar” and “floating neck swim collar” on Google today?

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  5. Kim Says:

    I saw it on pinterest today and thought there was no way this was for real! I can not believe anyone would think this is safe! Thank you for getting the word out… sad that someone has to tell people not to put a plastic inflatable ring around your baby’s neck and let them hang in the pool!!

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  6. Charlotte Says:

    Saw it featured on Kim Zolciak’s Instagram page and it looked absolutely terrifying so I jumped on Google to see if anyone else felt the same way about this contraption; turns out common sense has not disappointed! I’m relieved to hear that not everyone thinks this is such a great invention. Thanks Dr. Roy for confirming my fears! Now … how many babies have to die before it’s deemed “unsafe” and taken off the market? Sad.

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  7. Momof1 Says:

    Dr. Roy, an ex-Atlanta Housewife, Kim Zolciak Biermann, posted a photo of her child wearing a similar flotation device. I think this caused people to search the item and find more details on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Paige Says:

    Kim zolziac beirman( reality show star from real housewives of Atlanta)posted a video of her 6 month twins in these collars. She got some bad feedback and replied basically calling all negative comments “ignorant” and told these people to educate themselves bc she’s a full time mom of 6 who never would put her baby in danger & this new”gadget” is great and we should go buy one…blah blah blah. I saw the post in facebook today so I’m sure this is why your seeing this frenzy search. I’m embarresed to say I wanted to see if my 18 month old may could use this(youngest of 4)bc we live in the pool all summer. All I saw were Chinese sellers and ebayers…yeah felt really legit(sarcasm) then I read this, which is the closest to a serious product review I can find. Needless to say…I’m gonna stick to tried and true old fashion swim lessons. Thanks!

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  9. Paige Says:

    Oh and she also posted an endorsement from the today show today for this inflatable neck ring! They say and I quote”Baby spa takes the stress out of being and infant. The infants especially like it. We see them float and then take alittle cat nap while their floating. The older a babies can socialize while kicking and splashing”. I’m soo not making this up. Disturbing. Google her fan page on FB and you will see her calling all negative feedback ignorant crap basically….she uses the today show article as proof it’s a great product to be used..like a hot new must have. Again….disturbing.

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  10. kiley Says:

    Dr. Roy…..Kim Zolciak posted an Instagram video of her baby using it. I’m guessing that’s why all the hits. The power of celebrity.

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  11. Dr. Roy Says:

    Thanks Kiley, Paige, Charlotte, Mom, Kim– I had no idea about this, thanks for the update! Ironically I’m in Atlanta, too.

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  12. jpb Says:

    Here’s a link to the video, as well as a quote from Today: http://realitywives.net/blogs/kim-zolciak-shares-adorable-video-baby-kaia-pool/

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  13. Paige Says:

    Dr. Roy, thanks for posting the link to read the expanded version from the article. I only saw the small part(a screenshot)I mentioned before. I’m curious, does this new “baby spa” company change your opinion on this gadget? Is it useful to a baby if used in a different setting then tub or pool? Like a baby spa perhaps? Smh….I’ve not yet made an appointment for my sweet pea:)

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  14. amy Says:

    It was on the Today Show…a spa opening in Houston. I must confess I bought one and it is not tight and seems safer than the “boat” floats. Yes there should be concern that parents will leave baby while in this device. But the product itself is not a choking drowning hazard. Try the product before jyst reviewing by photo!

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  15. Martin Says:

    We have used this item during aquatic therapy for my son. It allowed the therapist to work with him without having the confinement of a life jacket. However, she never left his side and always had a hand on him! I thought it was a great product for therapeutic use or for kids with certain sensory issues.

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  16. Sandra Says:

    I googled it because I saw a picture and couldn’t believe people would use it! I understand for therapeutic reasons, but there are other ways than around the neck? So I googled it to see maybe that the baby was supported under the shoulders or was sitting in something, anything… But definitely can’t believe they allow the products!! Felt really wrong to see the babies with the floaties around their necks… Hope they do something about it very soon!

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  17. ramona Says:

    I saw it on a Facebook page,believe it or not,a page designed to give baby advice and tips(from so called professionals) and I could not believe such things actually exist. Thank you for your blog. I also left a very sour comment on that page as there were quite a few mums keen to find out where they can buy these death traps from…even photos from loving mothers,of babies hanging in a bath full of water with a floatie around their necks. Unbelievable!!!

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  18. Whitney Says:

    I found your review to be thorough, but I don’t believe the use of this product stems from lazy or neglectful parenting. I am actually purchasing one for my duahgter. She is four years old, and cannot hold her head up for an extended period of time. Because she suffers from a terminal chromosome disorder that limits her mobility and muscle strength, this gives me an opportunity to introduce her to water play. It’s not practical to believe I can hold and support my daughter for long periods of time, even in water. For special needs children, the “less than norm” product can open a door for them they may not have gotten to experience without. Many of the other moms in a group I’m a part of have used this product for bath time and pool time. I’ve heard nothing but good things, and look forward to seeing my daughter enjoy a little freedom she doesn’t get from day to day. With appropriate supervision and monitoring, I believe this product can be used successfully.

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  19. I don’t believe that these rings are unsafe for children either, unless they are unattended. My daughter suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy. She has never been able to crawl, stand, walk or even get up into the sitting position on her own. This tube has been amazing in her water therapy. It allows her to use all of her limbs to move herself around the pool. This is something she cannot do out of water. In any other flotation device that is under her arms it restricts her and does not allow her that capability. This ring is not tight around her neck at all and I would never put something on my daughter that I felt was unsafe. Also, when in water your body is buoyant and does not pull or hang from this ring, which makes for no stress to the neck whatsoever. I know many SMA mothers who use this same exact ring and love it! I went to shop for this ring today on Amazon and was saddened to see that it is no longer available. It is likely that it was caused by negative feedback from people like yourself. Some children absolutely need these products for their therapy. My daughters degenerative muscle condition will only get worse if we cannot get her the physical therapy she needs.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. tamyria Says:

    I have read the article as well as every comment posted on this subject so I feel I have educated myself enough on this specific conversation to state my opinion. Which is; both Dr. Roy and the two commenters (Whitney and Shannon Rose Hall) are correct. Now let me explain myself a bit. To begin with I will state I am a mother, in fact my child is 9 months old and yes she is my first child but that makes me no less experienced in child are as I have helped to take care of children since I was one myself. Secondly I would like to point out that I personally would never use this device; being that my daughter is healthy and fully Capable of living a happy life without it. In fact she has been swimming regularly in our pool since the beginning of summer and though I have a “boat float” as it was called in a previous comment, my child prefers to be held by an adult so that she can mimic her older cousins movements as they swim around her. Though humans may be buoyant in the water I still feel it’s unsafe for my child to be placed in a neck ring, especially one that has been stated many times to be loose, yes this thought may seem odd to many of you “why would she want a tight ring around her daughters neck?” You may be asking yourself, the truth is I don’t want that either. However a loose ring intended on holding a babies head above water seems like a recipe for infant drowning to me. Especially with an active child such as mine. I know what your thinking at this point, why would I say I agree with those two mothers specifically and then go against the product in my statement of it? Well I was just getting to that. Just because I would not use it doesn’t mean mothers like them shouldn’t. Their children have special needs that I hope mine will never have. But that’s what we all hope for our children isn’t it, health and happiness? Their children are suffering in a way that I could not begin to comprehend and they as good mothers want to give them something they couldn’t have without these rings. Mobility, the ability to hold their heads up, the ability to play like any other child would in the water. To them and parents like them going through similar times I say go for it! Use this device and make your child’s life a little brighter. I applaud you for what you are doing and what you have done for your children. To finish my statement i would like to state to those parents who choose to use this for whatever reason at all that this is not a free babysitter, this is not something that gives you a reason to leave your child unattended. If you do and your child is injured or drowns it is not the products fault. It is yours. In conclusion all I have to say is that every parent is different just as every child is different. Products like this are not good or bad to start with, it’s how they are used by the parents of the children that ultimately determine that.

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  21. tamyria Says:

    Edit: I left the c out of care in the beginning of my statement. This was due to my quick typing and aggravation due to my first try at posting this long comment not going through.

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  22. Dr. Roy Says:

    tamyria, thanks for your comments.

    RE: 1st post not going thru, I don’t know for sure (one never does!)– but I think your 1st comment was held for moderation, as are all 1st comments by new visitors to the site (to prevent spam). I found it in moderation, though I only “approved” your second comment, since they said pretty much the same thing. Sorry for the aggravation.

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  23. Dr. Roy Says:

    Update: you can use these things in a “professional” setting in Houston: http://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2014/sep/05/the-float-baby-spa-in-pictures.

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  24. tamyria Says:

    I only commented twice because my first comment did not go through. Thank you for reading!

    Like

  25. sevej Says:

    I’m using this at home (5 months). Always under watch, and never more than 15 minutes. Sure, the baby won’t learn to swim but it’s a great way to introduce the baby to movements he can’t do while lying on her back/belly. And it’s a great fun for the baby.

    Calling it a death trap seems like an overreaction, and of course we *never* depend on it to keep our baby alive.

    But indeed this thing needs a manual and/or warning sings. I can imagine it’s very easy for people to feel that they can leave their babies with it.

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xap1/v/t1.0-9/10687033_10152672432245349_7336586850251468772_n.jpg?oh=f67096569d86a81b839f2747c795d2c3&oe=549D6627&__gda__=1418033266_58ba655a3d128fa012306f9d0609f06c

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  26. Am Says:

    I don’t plan on throwing my 1 year old in a pool or a bath and walk away. My baby has a severe brain injury and thinking we could add this to her therapy, which is 100% supervised by myself and a licensed therapist. There are more comfortable neck rings that are covered in cloth. I WILL be adding this to her therapy routine. (Not this particular plastic product)
    Judge me all you want, but rehabbing my baby is important. I will do anything to help my baby. She would never be in a pool with this or unsupervised. It’s worth a shot!!

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  27. Amy B. Says:

    I’m on my honeymoon in Waikiki and wS at the pool awhile ago, my husband and I saw an Asian mom using this on her probably 6mth old. My husband swore it was the inflatable rings you swim with around your body and that the mom had it on his neck rather than around his abdomen but I noticed the buckles an that it was MADE to go around the neck. He didn’t believe me at first but then he saw the bucked too and just about crapped himself! I was thinking it’s some crazy invention they have only in the Asian market because I’ve never seen it in California! I was quote horrified seeing her use it, the baby can literally drown in seconds. The ring is just about airtight on their neck so if water gets into the ring, it would cover their face/mouth really fast and badly! This is an insane product! I actually told y husband it can’t possibly be sold in the US, I couldn’t see the government passing this with flying colors for safety standards on an infant! But I googled it and it IS in the US! I’m appalled ANY mother would buy this OR dare think of using it!

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  28. Janet Says:

    As a swimming teacher with over twenty years of experience i looked at this and thought about it and decided to buy one for my 9m grand daughter. I would ask all who are condemming it, have you actually tried it????
    If you have any idea about the properties of water and the effect it has on the body you will be very aware of the benefit of this product. It allows the baby to rest its head back and adopt a lying position very comfortably. something you would encourage your child to do when it first swims. ( often they are reluctant to lay back) OBVIOUSLY you should not use unsupervised and like with any bouyancy aid out there available, they all should be supervised as all can be dangerous if not!
    It’s for 1:1 use under constant supervision. I was reading about them and they were designed for use mostly in China where space is limited and you would purchase it with a mini paddling pool thats much smaller in circumfrence but about 1-2 m tall. Thus allowing the child to enjoy the benefits of floatation in a controlled enviroment. YOU WOULD NOT AND SHOULD NEVER LEAVE ANY CHILD UNATTENDED IN ANY FLOATATION DEVICE!!! Rubber rings are dangerous as are blow up dingys and lilos in the wrong hands……ask the RLSS and check with local coastgards

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  29. This is product is great for my daughter. She has a type of muscular dystrophy. it allows her to enjoy the water in a way that she wouldn’t be able to without it. it does not teach her to swim and is certainly not a substitute for supervision. just like with anything in the water common sense must be used

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  30. judd felder Says:

    They have been using these floats in asia for years. It doesn’t mean you leave the room and assume the float will keep your kid safe, you should always be there regardless. However, claims thats it’s crazy dangerous are unfounded. Baby is nearly weightless in water so there is next to no strain on their neck and they risk far less than falling over in one of those suspended floatys as their head cannot go beneath the surface. My girl loves it and we have been using it since 8 weeks old. She is unafraid of getting in the water with us now for swim lessons and she is relaxed and entertained by the motion of the water. Quit ranting and try an actual test of the product before you start needlessly scaring people.

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  31. Elmira Says:

    Hi, I’m living in Toronto would you please tell me where can I provide this for my son?

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