They may look cute and seem harmless, but neck floats for babies can have deadly consequences, an expert warns.
Kyran Quinlan, associate professor of pediatrics at Rush University, made the claim as the trendy gadgets continue to flood social media.
The former chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said seams on the inflatable gadgets, sold across the world, can be poorly sealed.
Speaking of the growing sales of the dangerous devices, he said: ‘Neck floats for babies scare me to death, and I hope they scare parents.
‘These are potential death traps… To have your precious baby one poorly sealed seam away from going under at the pool is frightening.’
Kyran Quinlan, associate professor of pediatrics at Rush University, made the claim as the trendy neck floats continue to flood social media
Such gadgets, designed originally as medical aids for disabled children, are often used by parents to support their baby’s neck while in the water.
But officials have long warned of the threat of swimming and flotation aids and have said they should not be confused with safety devices.
THE £90 AIRBAG FOR SWIMMERS
Swimmers could be saved from drowning by a new airbag-style device which inflates suddenly around the neck when it senses the person wearing it is in trouble.
Ploota is worn like a necklace and detects emergency situations, much like the latest cars do in head-on collisions.
It realises when its wearer has been submerged underwater for 30 seconds, and fills its integrated floats with a fitted carbon dioxide cartridge, bringing the potential casualty back to the surface.
The revolutionary gadget could even be seen as a replacement for bulky armbands, which children learning to swim must wear in classes.
Founder Rainer Fakesch, Mannheim, Germany, came up with the idea after a swimming accident during a family beach holiday.
What are the dangers?
Risk of drowning increases if the gadgets, used to support a baby’s neck in the water, are used incorrectly, or if they accidentally deflate.
The AAP warns any air-filled swimming aids can pose the same risk, as any deflation takes away their buoyancy immediately.
Other experts have condemned neck floats, which have proliferated recently as more of a recreational item, as being unstable.
It is believed uneven surfaces in water, created when other people swim close by, can cause the baby to tip over.
Parents are often keen on using the devices as it allows them to stay poolside while their baby plays in the water.
Recent product calls
The warning comes after two types of popular ‘floats’ were recalled in Australia by the Queensland Office of Fair Trading.
Two weeks ago it found two separate products sold on eBay increased the ‘risk of drowning’ if not used correctly, or if they deflated during use.
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission states children who cannot swim may drown if their neck float fails or is not used correctly.
It issues guidance to parents and carers and says they should ‘constantly watch’ youngsters who are using the aids.