The 8 Best Baby Floats

Updated April 04, 2018 by Misty Alder

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We spent 41 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 reliably buoyant and well balanced, to keep your little ones safe, comfortable, and secure while they splash around. Whether in the pool or at the beach, 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.

8. Speedo Cruiser

Ideal for smaller children, the Speedo Cruiser has a fabric covered seat with a high backrest for added stability when they lean back and to improve swimming maneuvering. Note that 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-New Blue-1SZ
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

7. Swimschool Aquarium

The Swimschool Aquarium is a wonderful companion for your 6-18-month-old tykes just learning to tread water, featuring side bubbles full of fish that bounce around with the touch of a tiny finger and a triple-layered reinforced seat that is comfy on their bottoms.
  • brightly decorated
  • detachable backrest
  • only babies' legs are submerged
Brand Swim School
Model SSB3413
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Intex Kiddie Float

The Intex Kiddie Float has a cover attached via Velcro that is not likely to fail even with some wind. It has leg holes that allow babies to practice kicking and moving in a specific direction, though its seat could be deeper to prevent kids from sitting too far forward.
  • not susceptible to deflating
  • won't tip over easily
  • thigh area snug on bigger kids
Brand Intex
Model 56581EP
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Mommy and Me

With the Mommy and Me, there's no need to worry about your cheerful cherub accidentally drifting away from you. This two-in-one solution features a detachable adult-sized ring, so you can stay face-to-face as you enjoy your splash time paddling around together.
  • great for an introduction to water
  • easy to store away
  • takes a lot of lung power to blow up
Brand SwimWays
Model 11559
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Intex Stingray

Covered by an integrated shelter, with a jingly handlebar to hang onto, kiddos can stay cool in the shade of the Intex Stingray as they frolic in the swimming pool. A repair kit is included in case it gets any nicks or tears in the process.
  • friendly-looking design
  • stays reliably upright
  • good for children up to 25 lbs
Brand Intex
Model pending
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. SwimWays Activity Center

The SwimWays Activity Center features a rotating octopus with a squeaker and rattle toy to occupy busy hands, while a mesh seat provides comfortable support for extended play times. A 2-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 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. Whale Lounge

Big, blue and made for fun, the Whale Lounge is a great companion for your little ones to use during playtime in the water, with huge eyes for gripping, a flipped up-tail to shield them from the heat and a smiling face to brighten their day.
  • supports up to 25 pounds
  • smooth seams to prevent irritation
  • encourages limb activity
Brand Intex
Model 56593EP
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

1. SwimWays Infant Spring

With a cradle seat and an adjustable 3-point harness, you can be assured that your tiny tot will be safe in the SwimWays Infant Spring. Constructed with inner springs and safety valves to make it more stable, it keeps them upright and above the surface right by your side.
  • built-in side handles
  • dual inflation chambers
  • simply twist and fold for storage
Brand SwimWays
Model 11553
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 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 April 04, 2018 by Misty Alder

Born and raised in the American Deep South, Misty's career in elder care took a sharp left turn when she was swept away to the land of Robinhood by her very own Merry Man. She's a coffee-swilling master of stitch-witchery with a magical touch in the kitchen and a never-ending stream of Disney gag reels playing in her head.

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