A floaty is an inflatable device on which a baby can sit, lay, or recline while floating on the water. The American Association of Pediatrics suggested that children start learning swimming by their 4th birthday. Using a floaty is the safest way for a small baby to play in the water. If you do a quick search, you will find many swimming floats that are suitable for babies of all ages, including newborns. Besides the look and design, there are many other factors to consider, such as safety, convenience, portability, mold-resistance, and so on. So what is the best floaty for babies? We’ve gathered 17 most popular swimming floats of different types and these are the best ones you should consider.
1. Best Overall Floaty for Babies
Why Is It the Best?
- Removable canopy with 50+ UPF
- Suitable for both breaststroke and backstroke swimming and lounging
- Ergonomic design with raised front and abdomen support
- 5-point safety protection
- Comes with a pump and two swimming toys
- For babies and toddlers from 3 months to 3 years
If you are looking for a swimming float that can last a long time and is suitable for lounging as well as learning swimming, the LAYCOL Baby Pool Float is hands down the best one to consider. This baby swimming ring is made with CPC-compliant PVC material that is toxin-free and leak-proof. Additionally, the air chamber is double-layered for added safety. There are two ways for your little one to use this float: she can rest her chest on the front to practice kicking water, or lay her back on the inflatable so that she can practice backstroke while enjoying a broader view. On top of its ergonomic design, the five-point safety strap ensures your child’s comfort as well as safety.
Rocking a 4.7 star on Amazon, this swimming float has been in the market for a few years and is loved by many parents. The upgraded version has added a removable canopy to provide sun protection. Furthermore, the package comes with two swimming buddies. With all things considered, we resonate many parents’ feedback that the LAYCOL baby pool inflatable is the best floaty for babies for both swim training and relaxing.
Read More: Best Retractable Baby Gates for Safe Play
2. Best Float and Activity Center Combo for Babies
SwimWays Float Activity Center
Why We Love It?
- 360-degree rotatable activity center
- Interactive toys for babies
- Innerspring to increase stability in choppy water
- Easy to fold and super portable
- Removable canopy and activity center
Though it’s no secret that babies love waters, they don’t appreciate quiet and relaxing do-nothing time as much as we parents do. That’s why you may want to consider the SwimWays Swimming Float and Activity Center Combo. The greatest feature to love about this swimming inflatable is the adorable activity center in the front. Not only is it removable, but it also turns 360 degrees so that your little tot can play with all accessories within finger’s reach.
Another highlight about this float is its patented innerspring. This unique design improves the stability of the float in moving water or waves. However, since this floaty is meant for babies and toddlers between 9 and 24 months, it will not be suitable for small infants.
3. Best Non-Inflatable Floaty for Babies
Why We Love It?
- Pearl foam filling with improved buoyancy
- Added removable tail and canopy
- Non-inflatable to guarantee babies’ safety
- Suitable for breaststroke and backstroke
- Comes with spray toys and a carry bag
One of the biggest complaints about baby swimming floats is the difficulty to control the air level. The Non-Inflatable Baby Float is an excellent alternative because it’s non-inflatable. Therefore, you no longer need to worry about air leakage or determine how much air to pump in.
Comparing to many other non-inflatable baby floaties, this model has a removable tail that prevents it from flipping over. The mesh windows on the side of the canopy also allow cool breezes to travel through in a hot summer day.
Read More: 10 Best STEM Toys for 1-Year-Old Babies
4. Best Swimming Floaty for Small Infants
Why We Love It?
- Design specifically for 3-9 months old infants
- Made with PVC that doesn’t retain heat
- Sun canopy is adjustable
- Can be used outside the pool
- Easy to inflate without a pump
Even though some swimming inflatables are suitable for both small infants and toddlers, most one-size-fits-all solutions always compromise certain aspects for different users. If you are looking for a pool floaty that’s specifically designed for small infants, then go for the SwimWays Infant Baby Spring Float.
This inflatable lounger is made with PVC material that keeps its surface cool. Besides that, the removable canopy also shields your little one from sun exposure. The biggest advantage of this float is the comfortable lounging pad. Don’t be surprised if your little tot doses off in a few seconds once you bring her to the pool. Additionally, this float is perfect to use outside the pool, such as on the beach. With this best floaty for babies, especially for those who are too young to learn swimming, everyone can just relax and enjoy the water.
5. Most Adorable Floaty for Babies
Brave Hours Flamingo Inflatable
Why We Love It?
- Adorable flamingo design
- Detachable canopy with wide coverage
- Easy to inflate, disassemble, and store
- Padded bottom and back support for extra comfort
If you are looking for a pool toy that is eye-catchy and comfortable for your little one, then the best option is the Brave Hours Flamingo Inflatable. The adorable flamingo design and cuddly pink color will surely attract lots of attention. But that’s not all. This pool floaty features a padded cushion to reduce the pressure on your baby’s bottom and a padded back support that makes lounging in the shade more relaxing.
In terms of safety, the manufacturer went the extra mile in adding double rings and three inflatable valves. Weighing less than 2 pounds and takes minimum space once deflated, carrying this swimming ring around is also a breeze.
Guide to Selecting the Best Pool Inflatable for Babies
When taking a little infant or toddler to the pool in a hot summer afternoon, the first thing that comes in parents’ minds is how to ensure their child’s safety. A pool float is a must-have for such occasions. So what to look for when you shop for a float for your child?
1.Safety: Is there potential leakage? How easy will it flip over?
There are both inflatable baby float and non-inflatable ones. Most inflatable pool floats have double chair chambers to increase safety. You can either use an air pump to inflate or simply blow air in using your month. But the problem with air-inflated swimming rings is how to control the amount of air inside. Underinflation doesn’t provide enough buoyancy while over-inflation makes the float surface too hard and can put too much pressure on the valve. However, non-inflatable swimming rings take more space and are less portable.
Another thing to consider in terms of safety is whether the float can easily tip over. This is especially important if the water is choppy or there are waves. Some swimming floats have a removable tail while some other ones have built-in spring. These mechanisms can increase stability and minimize the chance of flipping over.
2.Comfort: Does it put too much pressure on the baby? Is the material soft?
The two areas of a float that often make babies uncomfortable are the seat and the armrest. Some floats have thin edges in these areas that can cause more friction and hurt babies’ skin. Additionally, the best floaty for kids should use materials that are gentle, doesn’t cause allergy, and doesn’t retain too much heat from the sun.
3.Design: How many ways to use? Is it portable
Most pool floats for small infants are designed for lounging purposes only. While there are floats that allow practicing both breaststroke and backstroke swimming. There are fancier ones that have add-on activity centers to keep babies entertained. Fancy features also mean more movable parts and reduced portability. Multi-functional inflatables also have more valves, which means it takes a longer time to inflate and deflate.
4.Sun protection: What is the UPF level? Is the canopy removable?
Not all inflatables come with sun protection canopies. A canopy is very important to shield your baby from the ultraviolet (UV) light from penetrating your babie’s skin. Most canopies have a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) level of 50 or plus. According to the ASTM Standard for Sun Protective Clothing and Swimwear, anything above 40 is considered excellent. It blocks 97.5 to 98 perfect UV radiation from the sun.
Another thing to check is if the canopy is removable or if the angle can be adjusted.
5.Age and weight limit
When it comes to pool inflatables for babies, you should always follow the manufactures’ recommendations. In today’s market, you can find swimming floats for babies and toddlers of all ages, even newborns. The most popular ones can be used for babies from 3 months to 3 years.
In regards to the weight limit, you probably won’t find this spec on many pool floats. Most pool floats for babies and toddlers have a maximum weight limit of around 60 pounds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Neck Floats Safe?
If you don’t have the opportunity to bring your child to a pool, but instead want him or her to play in the bathtub, many parents choose to use a neck float. Neck floats are like a big donut that you wrap around your baby’s neck. But are neck floats any good? According to WebMD, these devices don’t provide any proven benefits but put too much strain on a baby’s neck. This may then cause injury.
If you want your young infant to enjoy the water, we recommend a lounger where she can sleep on. Of course, no matter what types of float you use, you should always stay near your little one and keep an eye on her.
Cecilia Yeung is a successful entrepreneur and product researcher. She has a background in psychology and children’s education. As a working mother of two, she loves to write about children’s education and development.