The 10 Best Baby Floats

Updated May 18, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

10 Best Baby Floats
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We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Giving your children confidence in the water at an early age will benefit them for the rest of their lives. The best baby floats should be buoyant and well balanced, to keep your little ones safe, comfortable, and secure while they splash around. Whether in the pool, at the beach, or in the bathtub, find the right choice for your child from our selection. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best baby float on Amazon.

10. Swimways Animal Friend

The Swimways Animal Friend makes for some great photo opportunities, with your baby looking like they're riding a giraffe. Its adorable design is backed by essential features, like a low center of gravity to prevent flipping over, and a soft mesh seat for comfort.
  • three-point-anchored sun cover
  • hard to see around giraffe's head
  • needs more support for infant use
Brand SwimWays
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

9. Speedo Baby Cruiser

Ideal for smaller children, the Speedo Baby Cruiser has a fabric covered seat with a high backrest for added stability when they lean back and to improve swimming maneuvering. Its spacious canopy is more likely to stay in place if it is installed when wet.
  • grows with babies up to 33 pounds
  • sunshade is detachable
  • can leak air if overfilled
Brand Speedo
Model 7570524-004-Blue-P
Weight pending
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

8. Swimschool Grow With Me

The Swimschool Grow With Me does exactly that, beginning with children aged at the minimum of 18 months. Its 4-in-1 design starts off as a boat to introduce your little one to the pool, then it converts into a cruiser, a kick float, and a kick board as your child advances.
  • two security handles
  • reliable no-leak air valves
  • no sun protection
Brand SwimWays
Model 11604-LP
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Poolmaster Learn To Swim

For the ultimate parent and baby pool bonding experience, the Poolmaster Learn To Swim provides an open ring for adults to steer, and a drop seat with ample paddling room for babies to build confidence, as they'll think they're doing all the work.
  • made out of durable vinyl
  • two integrated inflatable toys
  • sun shelter does not stay up well
Brand Poolmaster
Model 81548
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Pampel Swim Ring

Targeted at infants under one year old, the Pampel Swim Ring secures around babies' necks to give them independent arm and leg movement. Its dual air system offers the right amount of buoyancy, while also supporting the child without any discomfort.
  • made from nontoxic materials
  • great for bathtub use too
  • requires constant supervision
Brand Pampel
Model YEYQ13-P
Weight pending
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Intex Kiddie Float

The Intex Kiddie Float has a cover attached via Velcro that is not likely to fail even with some winds. It has leg holes that allow babies to practice kicking and moving in a specific direction, but its seat could be deeper to prevent kids from sitting too far forward.
  • not susceptible to deflating
  • won't tip over easily
  • leg holes are snug on bigger kids
Model 56581EP
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Swimways Tug Boat

The Swimways Tug Boat has a charming design with an interactive steering wheel that will make your baby love the pool. A four-position seat accommodates growing children for multiple season use, while a bottle holder helps ensure kids' comfort while playing.
  • awning retracts for easy loading
  • low mass center prevents capsizing
  • decals come off easily
Brand SwimWays
Model 11622
Weight 10 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Arshiner Pool Boat

The Arshiner Pool Boat has a large sunshade to protect your babies' sensitive skins while they float in the pool, and two handholds to make them feel secure. It is assembled out of eco-friendly PVC, and is suitable for children between the ages of one and three.
  • bright and cheery colors
  • steering wheel keeps kids occupied
  • quality build holds air well
Brand Arshiner
Model **AM000960
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

2. Intex Froggy Friend

The Intex Froggy Friend has generous-sized leg holes to easily place and remove baby without discomfort, and for additional leg room to kick around. Its three air chambers may seem inconvenient for parents, but they are useful safety precautions that prevent tipping over.
  • 25-pound weight limit
  • lilypad-shaped sun cover
  • cute and playful design
Model 56584EP
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

1. Swimways Activity Center

The Swimways Activity Center features a rotating octopus with a squeaker and rattle toy to keep baby occupied, while a mesh seat keeps them comfortable for extended play times. The two-position canopy helps protect delicate skin from the sun, without hindering visibility.
  • for babies 3 to 24 months old
  • includes storage and travel bag
  • awning is removable
Brand SwimWays
Model 11601
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Swimming As Part Of 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.

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.

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Last updated on May 18, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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