16 Best Baby Floats for the Ultimate Summer
August 6, 2020
Summer is here, which means it’s time to hit the water! A baby float is a great way for you and your little to lounge in the pool. But before heading outside, learn how to find the best baby float for your child. It all depends on baby’s age and personal preferences—but there are a few other general guidelines to keep in mind when purchasing a baby float. Whether you’re in the market for a baby pool float, neck float, swim float or something with a canopy, read on for our top shopping tips, as well as our list of favorite baby floats for the season.
When shopping for a baby float, there are a few things to keep in mind—including what it’s made of and how much it costs. (On average, a baby float costs between $10 and $30.) But perhaps even more importantly, you’ll need to remember the three S’s: sun protection, safety and size.
Sun protection. Most pediatricians agree that babies should be kept out of direct sunlight until they’re at least 6 months old. But even after those first 6 months—and lathered up with your favorite sunscreen for babies—baby’s skin is still extremely delicate. That’s why you may want to invest in a baby float with canopy, which is specifically designed for extra sun protection. (But don’t forget the baby sun hat when you’re headed to the pool too!)
Safety. When it comes to baby floats, there’s one question people are always asking: Is a baby neck float safe? That’s an important question (read on for more about that!), but you should of course consider safety when buying any kind of baby float. So what makes a baby pool float safe? Features like seat straps, safety valves and designs that prevent and act against leakages. All these things will keep baby upright, should an accident happen. And they can happen—which is why you must always supervise your child when they’re in a baby float. Make sure you’re within arm’s reach of the baby pool float. That way, you can help prevent any spills.
Size. Baby floats come in all sizes because they’re made for babies of all ages. But here’s something to keep in mind: Some baby floats are designed to actually grow with baby. This type of baby float expands as your child gets bigger, so you don’t have to purchase a new float in the future. They also come with added features for the more experienced swimmer, like a handle for the toddler who’s ready to do some kicking.
The best baby float isn’t just safe for baby, it’s cute too! Some of these baby floats are designed to look like kids’ toys, while others look like miniature versions of our favorite adult floats. Scroll to see some of our favorite baby pool floats.
Sunnylife Baby Crab Pool Float
This baby pool float, suitable for kids one to 2 years old, comes complete with a headrest and comfortable leg support. Chilling in this bright baby float is the only time it’s acceptable to be crabby in the pool. (It also comes in flamingo, pineapple and rainbow designs!)
Buy it: $35, Amazon.com
Sunnylife Baby Float Watermelon
Watermelon at the pool? Yes, please! Baby will be irresistible (and hard to miss!) in this bright, poppy baby float, which features features a comfy headrest and leg supports.
Buy it: $20, Amazon.com
Baby Spring Float Activity Center
This SwimWays baby pool float is a triple threat: 1) It’s a spring baby float, which means it has an inner spring that adds comfort and stability. 2) It’s a baby float with canopy, which means extra sun protection for baby! And 3) The octopus design is super-cute and offers built-in toys and a teether!
Buy it: $23, Amazon.com
Sunnylife Inflatable Arm Band Crabby
If you’re shopping for your toddler and are in the market for arm floats, we had to include these: inflatable blue arm floats, or “swimmies,” complete with a big red crab (or cherries, or pineapples!) on each arm.
Buy it: $10, Amazon.com
Weefloat Baby Flamingo Float
Move over, unicorn floats—there’s a fabulous flamingo in town. This baby float, recommended for children 8 months to 2 years old, comes with an awning that’s detachable and easy to carry.
Buy it: $16, Amazon.com
MommyMe Sun Shade Float
Keep baby within arm’s reach with this mommy-and-me baby float by MommyMe. Suitable for baby from 9 to 24 months, it offers a bright, colorful design and graphics, as well as built-in turtle and starfish friends to keep your little one busy.
Buy it: $26, Amazon.com
Speedo Kids’ Begin to Swim Fabric Baby Cruiser with Canopy
Speedo’s baby float with canopy, available in blue or pink, can hold a baby up to 33 pounds. But the true star of this baby pool float? Its cushy, well-padded, fabric-covered seat, which elevates baby well above the water level for safety and comfort.
Buy it: $27, Amazon.com
Delicacy Baby Baby Swimming Float
This baby pool float is in a league of its own. It comes equipped with soft cushion support to prevent littles from sliding out or flipping backwards, a center piece that protects baby’s belly, a front to keep their face from touching the water, and double airbags for optimum safety in the water.
Buy it: $30, Amazon.com
Zerlar Swimwear Float Suit with Adjustable Buoyancy
While the majority of baby floats on here are ring floats, we would be remiss to leave out this excellent baby float option for kiddos 12 months or older: a baby float suit! It’s adjustable in size and comes with eight removable floats. As baby learns to swim, you can slowly remove the floats, but in the meantime, you can rest easy knowing your child has the extra protection they need. The suits are available in several colors and three different sizes to grow with baby.
Buy it: $35, Amazon.com
Stuff 4 Multiples Duo Twin Pool Float
Finally, a baby pool float for twins (or siblings very close in age!). This double-harness baby pool float, made by Stuff 4 Multiples, seats the babies in two connected rings facing each other, making it easy for them to play together—and for Mom and Dad to keep an eye on both. The float holds up to 30 pounds per seat, making it suitable for babies from 6 to 36 months.
Buy it: $40, Stuff4multiples.com
Now onto a more hotly debated topic in the baby float world: baby neck floats. As the name suggests, a baby neck float circles baby’s neck, leaving the legs and arms free to explore. True, they do look a little strange on, perhaps even uncomfortable, but according to those that sell them, they encourage muscle coordination, strengthen the respiratory system and ease digestion, to name a few reported perks. But is a baby neck float safe?
The jury’s out on this one. Some pediatricians support the baby neck float craze, saying by putting the float at the neck instead of the waist, more of baby’s body is able to move freely. More movement means more muscle development, right? Still, other pediatricians note that much of a baby’s development is happening at the head and neck, which means you have to be extra careful with those areas. Those doctors don’t support baby neck floats, recommending a traditional baby float—like one of the ones listed in the section above—instead.
If you want to try a baby neck float, either in a pool or in a bathtub, try the pediatrician-tested Otteroo. Designed for babies 2 months and older, Otteroo baby neck floats feature a chin rest, click-in safety belt and toxin-free materials. Nevertheless, we still recommend discussing with your doctor before using a baby neck float on your child.
Buy it: $35, Shop.otteroo.com
One thing we can all agree on when it comes to baby floats: The more sun protection, the better! Which is why parents love a baby float with canopy. Those little baby pool float attachments are like umbrellas, blocking out harmful UV rays. Of course, babies still need sunscreen—at least 50 SPF is best. But canopy baby floats are just one more way to ensure that baby stays shaded.
This super-cute and colorful baby float buggy has a Flintstones-style topper that keeps the rays away while also looking like a pretty cool sports car. It’s great for a baby or toddler, as it can safely hold up to 60 pounds.
Buy it: $25, Amazon.com
Poolmaster Baby Duck Rider
Poolmaster’s nautical-themed duck baby float with canopy is a cutie. The comfortable drop seat will hold children up to 2 years old (or 40 pounds), while that striped topper blocks the sun.
Buy it: $15, Amazon.com
Poolmaster Baby Frog Rider
A baby pool float with a palm tree that doubles as a canopy? Talk about good vibes. This one has a frog-shaped bottom and comes with an inflatable frog toy for pooltime play. Pop-up eyes also give baby something fun to hold onto while whizzing around the pool.
Buy it: $14, Amazon.com
TRSCIND Friendly Shark Baby Float
Attack mode! This bright blue, shark-themed baby float with canopy is made of durable PVC material and features two heavy-duty handles to ensure that baby is secure. The baby pool float is recommended for ages 6 to 36 months and will introduce baby to water fun while keeping them safe and cozy.
*Buy it: * $22, Amazon.com
Intex Kiddie Float with Sun Shade and Toys
Intex’s Kiddie Float, meant to hold babies up to 33 pounds, offers a burst of sunshine yellow and a play bar to keep baby busy. Plus, it’s crafted from 10-gauge vinyl, making it one of the strongest, most secure baby floats on the list.
Buy it: $11, Amazon.com
Updated May 2019
Plus, more from The Bump: