The 10 Best Baby Floats

video play icon

This wiki has been updated 31 times since it was first published in March of 2015. Giving little ones confidence in the water at an early age will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Our selection of baby pool floats features colorful options that are reliably buoyant and well balanced to keep young passengers safe and comfortable while they splash around. When using these, never leave your child unattended, even for a few seconds, as drowning is a constant risk. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. SwimWays Infant

2. Intex Whale

This item has been flagged for editorial review and is not available.

3. Intex Froggy Friend

This item has been flagged for editorial review and is not available.

Editor's Notes

April 23, 2020:

These colorful and sturdy baby floats are great for helping tiny tots become comfortable in a swimming pool as they learn to kick their legs in the water. Most come with sun shades to help protect delicate skin, and some, like the SwimWays Activity Center and the Intex Stingray, also serve as fun pool toys by featuring components that spin, squeak, or rattle.

In today’s update, we added in a couple more models from Intex, including the Intex Froggy Friend, which serves as a fun swim time companion for little tots, thanks to its smiling character and bright, cheery colors. It sports smooth, comfortable leg holes and a protective lily pad shade. Like the SwimWays Mommy and Me, the newly added Intex My First Swim provides spots for baby and a parent, so you’ll be sure your bundle of joy is always nearby in the pool. It keeps your little one cool and comfortable, thanks to a soft, pillow-like backrest, two grab handles, and a palm tree shade.

The SwimWays Infant retains its top spot in our selection, since it has a lot to offer when it comes to both comfort and safety, including a three-point harness, a cradle seat, a protective canopy, and inner springs and safety valves for stability. Another friendly looking option from Intex is the Intex Whale, which provides large eyes for little hands to grip and a tail that provides some shade. It can support up to 25 pounds and features smooth seams to prevent little legs from becoming irritated.

For safety’s sake, it is important to note that floats are not designed to be life-saving devices. Never leave a child unattended while they are using one of these in a pool, and undivided attention from an adult is important.

Special Honors

Stuff 4 Multiples Duo Twin Float When you’ve got two tiny tots, this handy device makes frolicking in the pool with them a breeze, since you won’t need to hold two separate floats together at once. The top is clear plastic with friendly sea creature graphics, while the bottom is a solid blue decorated with bubbles of different sizes. It can support up to 30 pounds per seat, and is designed for kids aged six months to three years.

4. Intex My First Swim

5. SwimWays Activity Center

6. Intex Stingray

This item has been flagged for editorial review and is not available.

7. SwimWays Mommy and Me

8. Intex 56581

9. SwimSchool Aquarium

10. Speedo Cruiser

Swimming As Part Of Childhood Development

Researchers overwhelmingly agree that regular swimming is one of the best ways to help overall childhood development.

Dedicated parents care about the healthy, holistic development of their children. That's why they try to expose their children to all the right influences, such as art and music, toys and play areas that help to hone and challenge the mind, and activities that can help a child best use his or her mind and body.

If you are looking for one of the best activities to help foster your child's productive development, both physically and mentally, look no further than the swimming pool. Researchers overwhelmingly agree that regular swimming is one of the best ways to help overall childhood development.

Evidence suggests that children who begin to swim at a younger age tend to hit many development milestones earlier than their non-swimming peers. These include many physical milestones, such as gross motor competence with walking and balance and fine motor competence with dexterity, as well as even various cognitive benchmarks, such as mathematical and spatial reasoning skills. And indeed the studies seem to make clear that these advances were thanks to swimming, as other factors, such as socioeconomics and even gender, were carefully accounted for in the course of the research.

A parent who encourages their child to swim from an early age can count on a more well-rounded, independent, and fit youngster. And, of course, the more the child swims, the more time the parent spends in the water, potentially enjoying a bit more exercise him or herself.

Shared time in the pool comes with another added benefit, as well: it can strengthen the bond between the nurturer and child, with the child feeling safe and secure thanks to the presence of their parent (or other care giver), and allowing both the youngster and the adult to simply have some fun.

Few activities can foster both a sense of independence and a closer bond, but swim time offers both. To make the most of time in the water when your child is still quite young, choose the best baby float for your son or daughter, and then make a splash.

Choosing The Right Float For Your Child

The purpose of a baby pool float is, first and foremost, to keep your child safe. A baby float is for use when a child is not yet able to swim independently, yet when parents (or the caregiver) want the child to begin to experience and enjoy time in the water without delay.

Smaller infants will do better perched in the soft seat of a wide, stable float.

Any safe, well-designed baby float centers a child's weight, and most allow the child to sit low in the water, which keeps their center of gravity down, minimizing the chance for capsizing. Make sure to check the stats cited on any float you are considering, as the float will make clear the weight range (and likely the height) of the child it is designed to safely support.

Many baby floats have sunshades that can help to cover your child, which is of critical importance even on cloudier days; ultraviolet sunlight can penetrate cloud cover even when visible sunshine is blocked, and it's UV sunlight that does the most damage to the skin. A sunshade that keeps your child in their own little shadow is a great way to keep them safe.

Some baby floats allow a child plenty of interaction with their aquatic environment, while others are more about simply being in and experiencing the water. For older or more adventurous babies, a smaller float might actually be a better choice, as it will allow the child to get his or her hands down into the water to splash and even to practice the paddling motions of actual swimming. Smaller infants will do better perched in the soft seat of a wide, stable float.

As far as color scheme and design theme, if your child loves animals, get them an animal-themed float; if he or she is partial to a given color, try to get a float in that hue. The more your child likes his or her float, the more time they will spend in the water.

Pool Safety Tips

It's a harrowing statistic, but a child (and indeed any person, under certain circumstances) can drown in as little as two inches of water. Thus, when a small child enters a much larger body of water, such as a pool or even a lake or the sea, it is imperative that they are never left alone even for a matter of seconds.

Even with a float, a baby is only safe in the water when accompanied by a responsible, mature individual. Pool safety means no one is ever alone. Even the most stable float can flip, and no float is 100 percent impervious to dangerous deflation, even if it features multiple air bladders. A child should always be helped into and out of their float, never using the device on their own. If a leg or arm were to become trapped, a baby float could potentially present more danger than safety to the child.

Also, keep in mind that a baby float's sunshade will only provide shade when placed at the right angle, so don't overlook the use of sunblock and hats to help keep a young child's sensitive skin safe.

Karen Bennett
Last updated by Karen Bennett

Karen Bennett lives in Chicago with her family, and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found practicing yoga or cheering on her kids at soccer games. She holds a master’s degree in journalism and a bachelor’s in English, and her writing has been published in various local newspapers, as well as “The Cheat Sheet,” “Illinois Legal Times,” and “USA Today.” She has also written search engine news page headlines and worked as a product manager for a digital marketing company. Her expertise is in literature, nonfiction, textbooks, home products, kids' games and toys, hardware, teaching accessories, and art materials.

Thanks for reading the fine print. About the Wiki: We don't accept sponsorships, free goods, samples, promotional products, or other benefits from any of the product brands featured on this page, except in cases where those brands are manufactured by the retailer to which we are linking. For more information on our rankings, please read about us, linked below. The Wiki is a participant in associate programs from Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, Target, and others, and may earn advertising fees when you use our links to these websites. These fees will not increase your purchase price, which will be the same as any direct visitor to the merchant’s website. If you believe that your product should be included in this review, you may contact us, but we cannot guarantee a response, even if you send us flowers.