7 Best Baby Floats for the Ultimate Summer

From baby pool floats to ones with canopies, we’ve got something sure to float your boat.
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Updated April 18, 2023
happy Baby swimming with a baby pool float
Image: Marine Malone
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Summer is here, which means it’s time to hit the water! A baby float is a great way for you and your little one to lounge in the pool, without tiring out your arms. With a pool float baby can bob along at your side and enjoy splashing about. Of course, water safety guidelines still apply whether baby uses a swim float or not, so always stay within touching distance of your child when you’re in the water. Before heading poolside, 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 basic inflatable ring or something with a canopy, read on for our top shopping tips, as well as our list of favorite baby floats for the season.

Are Baby Pool Floats Safe?

Most baby pool floats are safe to use with adult supervision. While pool floats can be helpful and fun, it’s important to note that they are not life saving devices. “No pool float or other aquatic accessories replace proper adult supervision,” says Lisa M. Zarda, CAE, CNAP, executive director of The United States Swim School Association. Inflatable pool floats can deflate or tip over causing the potential for drowning, so caregivers must be vigilant at all times.

Swim safety guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) state that children under the age of 5 should always be accompanied by an adult within arm’s length, providing “touch supervision,” while they are in or around water. Zarda agrees and says parents must give children their full undivided attention when using a pool float: “This means not talking with others in the pool, sitting on the side of the pool or leaving the area even for just a second.”

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It’s also best to avoid baby neck floats—inflatable rubber rings worn around baby’s neck—as the safety of these products has not been established. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “the risks of using baby neck floats include death due to drowning and suffocation, strain and injury to a baby’s neck”.

What’s more, the AAP advises against the use of inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties”, as they may give children and caregivers a false sense of security.

What to Look for When Buying a Baby Float

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. Infants 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 a UV 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. Keep your eyes peeled for safety features like seat straps, safety valves and anti-tip designs. All these things help 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. Again 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. Zarda advises parents to consider the size of the float relative to the swimming area. Large, opaque pool floats may make it difficult to see if someone in the pool is in danger.

  • Easy to store: Baby floats should be easy to pack up as it’s important to remove floats from the pool once swim time’s over. “A float in the pool can attract curious children to go back to the pool when no one is around, increasing the risk of drowning,” says Zarda. Look for options that are easy to deflate and come with a carry bag for easy storage.

Best Baby Pool Floats

The best baby floats are comfortable, easy to use and cute. Scroll to see some of our favorite baby pool floats below.

Best overall baby float

SwimWays Baby Spring Float Activity Center
Image: Walmart
What We Love
  • Innerspring technology
  • Adjustable sun canopy
  • Built-in toys include a teether, squeaker, stacking rings and a rattle
Things To Consider
  • Not suitable for infants under 9 months

Swimways baby float is at the top of our list thanks to the cute, interactive design and impeccable safety features. Dual air chambers, safety valves and a wide stable base with innerspring technology provides maximum stability. It has a full coverage UPF 50 canopy, with mesh sides that ensure baby is visible at all times. The adorable octopus activity center rotates 360 degrees to face baby, so they can enjoy each of the four built-in toys. Plus, the fabric seat with airy mesh inserts offers a cool and comfortable perch for your little swimmer.

Specs at a glance:

  • Age range: 9 to 24 months
  • Dimensions: 13 (L) x 13 (W) x 3 (H) inches
  • Product weight: 3.15 pounds
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Best neoprene baby float

Speedo Baby Swim Flotation Baby Cruiser With Canopy Begin to Swim
Image: Speedo
What We Love
  • Made by a trusted swim gear brand
  • Neoprene-covered seat is comfortable and fast-drying
  • Dual air chambers
Things To Consider
  • Not suitable for infants under 6 months

Speedo’s baby float, available in blue or pink, can hold a baby up to 33 pounds in weight. It has a cushy, upholstered seat, which elevates baby well above the water level for safety. The neoprene fabric is soft and fast-drying for added comfort. Meanwhile, the surrounding rubber ring has dual flotation chambers for added safety and durability. Plus, this inflatable float comes with a removable canopy for UV protection.

Specs at a glance:

  • Age range: 6 to 24 months
  • Dimensions: 12.95 (L) x 12.76 (W) x 2.32 (H) inches
  • Product weight: 0.75 pounds
Buy Now

Best baby float with a retractable sun canopy

SwimSchool Infant Baby Pool Float
Image: Target
What We Love
  • Adjustable mesh seat
  • Retractable UPF 50 sun canopy
  • Dual air chambers and safety valves
Things To Consider
  • It doesn’t come with an air pump

Stay safe in the sun with this baby float by Swim School. It’s stable and buoyant thanks to dual air rings and safety valves. A large UPF 50 canopy with an adjustable hinge allows for up to 120 degrees of sun shade. And the canopy also boasts a mesh back that allows for increased visibility and ventilation on hot summer days. Better yet, an adjustable seat ensures baby stays in the perfect upright position for splashing about.

Specs at a glance:

  • Age range: 6 to 24 months
  • Dimensions: 34 (L) x 30 (W) x 22 (H) inches
  • Product weight: 1.2 pounds
Buy Now

Best fixed canopy baby float

Poolmaster 81549 Learn-to-Swim Swimming Pool Float
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
What We Love
  • Cute car design
  • Large canopy offers plenty of shade
  • Drop seat
Things To Consider
  • Canopy is not UV resistant

This super-cute and colorful baby float has a Flintstones-style topper that keeps the rays away while also looking like a pretty cool sports car. The drop seat encourages baby to sit in a balanced upright position while the roomy leg holes provide freedom to practice their swim kicks. It’s great for a baby or toddler, as it can safely hold up to 60 pounds. The best part? The steering wheel comes complete with a functioning horn.

Specs at a glance:

  • Age range: 8 to 24 months
  • Dimensions: 38 (L) x 17 (W) x 32 (H) inches
  • Product weight: 2.7 pounds
Buy Now

Best non-inflatable baby float

Mambobaby Add Tail Never Flip Over Non-Inflatable Baby Swim Float
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
What We Love
  • Leak-proof
  • Non-flip safety features
  • Retractable UPF 50+ sun canopy
Things To Consider
  • Harder to store than inflatable baby floats

Don’t want to spend time inflating a rubber ring? We hear you. Mambobaby swim floats are made from a triple layer of buoyant materials: a pearl foam interior, a waterproof middle layer and a soft, skin-friendly fabric on the exterior. And because the float isn't filled with air it will never leak or deflate—hooray! It also has a non-flip “tail” that can be added to the front as a footrest or placed at the back to keep baby balanced. Other standout features include a retractable UPF 50+ sun canopy, a five-point safety harness and a cushy pillow that keeps baby’s head lifted at a 40 degree angle.

Specs at a glance:

  • Age range: 3 to 24 months
  • Dimensions: 20.4 (L) x 20 (W) x 4.8 (H) inches
  • Product weight: 2.9 pounds
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Best mommy and me baby float

What We Love
  • Let’s a parent stay close to baby
  • Made from durable PVC
  • Sun shade
Things To Consider
  • Not suitable for infants under 12 months

Keep your little one well within arm’s reach with this mommy-and-me baby float by Pool Candy. Suitable for tots over the age of 1, it has a roomy seat for your kiddo complete with a sun canopy. We like the bright, colorful design and the fact that you can stay close.

Specs at a glance:

  • Age range: 12 to 36 months
  • Dimensions: 2.3 (L) x 7.55 (W) x 10.4 (H) inches
  • Product weight: 1 pound
Buy Now

Best budget baby float

Intex My Baby Float
Image: Amazon
What We Love
  • Dual air chambers
  • Made from durable vinyl
  • Affordable price point
Things To Consider
  • No sun shade

Searching for something cheap and cheerful? Check out this sunshine yellow baby float by Intex. It features a large inflatable outer ring and smaller inner ring for added safety and stability. A plump neck cushion and smooth seat straps ensure your little duck is happy bobbing along. Plus, it’s crafted from 10-gauge vinyl, making it one of the strongest, most durable baby floats on the list.

Specs at a glance:

  • Age range: 12 to 24 months
  • Dimensions: 10 (L) x 6 (W) x 1 (H) inches
  • Product weight: 0.75 pounds
Buy Now

How We Chose the Best Baby Pool Floats

We get it—parenting requires a lot of gear, and it can be hard to find the best fit for your family. To streamline your decision-making process, our goal is to do the bulk of the research for you, so you don’t have to spend hours scrolling through online retailers. We do this by considering a list of criteria when sourcing products, including quality and durability, value, and, last but definitely not least, safety.

To decide which pool floats are the best options on the market, we read user reviews to get the low-down on how these products work for families, and typically don’t consider anything with less than an average four-star rating.

To make sure we’re highlighting products that are safe and effective, we spoke with an expert in the area of swim safety to understand essential features and safety considerations to keep top of mind when you’re shopping. We also followed the water safety recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here.

About the expert:

Lisa M. Zarda, CAE, CNAP, executive director of the United States Swim School Association(USSSA). The USSSA is a network of over 400 swim schools, providing swimming and water safety instruction, in 39 states and 16 countries worldwide.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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