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July 28, 2023
James Setton

A Guide to Choosing the Best Swimming Floats and Floaties for Babies and Toddlers

Last Updated: April 26, 2024

Sun-drenched days and cool water beckon, making it the perfect time to introduce your little one to the joys of swimming. While floaties and swimming floats can provide a sense of security and allow for some independent splashing, it’s important to remember that they are not safety devices. Constant adult supervision is crucial for babies and toddlers in or around water.

This guide discusses the different types of baby swimming floats and floaties available, helping you choose the right one for your child’s age and development.

Baby Swimming Floats and Floaties

Image: | Author: tookapic-1386459

Baby swimming floats, and floaties come in various shapes, sizes, and designs, catering to different age groups and needs. To make sure you have a good time, consider these suggestions:

Infant Pool Floats


These full-body support floats are designed for babies aged 0-12 months. They typically feature a fabric or mesh sling that cradles the baby’s torso and a headrest for added support.


Arm floaties are inflatable or foam rings worn around a child’s upper arms. They are suitable for toddlers aged 1 year and older with basic upper body strength and coordination.

Choosing the Right Swimming Float for Different Age Groups

Here’s a breakdown of recommended floats based on your baby’s age and developmental stage:

Floats for 0-3 Months: For this young age group, prioritize full-body support floats with a headrest and adjustable straps for a snug fit. Look for features like a sun canopy for added protection.

Floats for 3-6 Months: Similar to 0-3 month floats, prioritize full-body support with a comfortable headrest. Consider a wider leg area for increased comfort and stability.

Floats for 6-12 Months: As babies develop more neck and head control, some floats in this category offer a more upright position, allowing them to practice kicking and splashing.

Floaties for 1-Year-Olds: Look for arm floaties with vibrant colors and fun designs to engage your toddler. Choose floaties made from durable, lightweight materials that won’t weigh your child down.

Baby Swim Floats for 12-18 Months: Some toddlers in this age group might graduate from full-body support floats to floaties with backrests or chest straps for added security.

Floatation Devices for 18-Month-Olds: By 18 months, some toddlers may be comfortable with standard arm floaties, but remember, adult supervision is still essential.

Toddler Pool Floats: For older toddlers with developed swimming skills, pool floats that resemble animals or pool noodles can provide fun and buoyancy while still requiring adult supervision.

Key Features to Consider When Choosing Swimming Floats

Here are some essential factors to consider when choosing a baby swimming float or floaties:

Age and Weight Capacity: Ensure the float is age-appropriate and supports your child’s weight comfortably.

US Coast Guard Certification: Look for the US Coast Guard (USCG) certification label, indicating the float meets safety standards.

Comfort and Support: Choose a float that provides proper support and allows for a natural head position. Avoid floats that restrict movement or strain your child’s neck.

Sun Protection: For younger babies, consider floats with canopies or sunshades to protect them from harmful UV rays.

Durability: Opt for floats made from high-quality, puncture-resistant materials that can withstand regular use.

Best Practices for Using Baby Swimming Floats

Kid Swimming

Never leave your child unattended: Regardless of the float type, constant adult supervision is critical around water.

Introduce gradually: Start with short sessions in a calm environment to allow your baby to adjust to the water.

Focus on fun: Make it a positive experience! Play with your child, sing songs, and create a joyful atmosphere.

Inflate properly: Ensure the float is inflated to the recommended pressure for optimal buoyancy and support.

Inspect regularly: Check for leaks or damage before each use and replace the float if necessary.

Top Recommendations and Reviews

Here are some highly-rated baby swimming floats and floaties in the market, along with their key features, pros, and cons:

Mambobaby Self-Inflating Baby Swim Float with Canopy:

Pros: Easy to inflate, comfortable design, sun canopy for protection, USCG approved.

Cons: May not be suitable for all babies, some users report difficulty achieving a snug fit.

SwimWays Spring Float Sun Canopy Infant Baby Float:

Features: This full-body support float features a spring mechanism for easy on and off, a comfortable fabric seat, and an adjustable sun canopy.

Pros: Easy to use, lightweight design, adjustable headrest for younger babies.

Cons: May not be suitable for larger babies, but some users report concerns about strap durability.

LAYCOL Baby Pool Float with UPF50+ Sun Protection Canopy:

Features: This full-body support float offers a unique tail design for added stability, a comfortable mesh seat, and a removable sun canopy with UPF 50+ protection.

Pros: Tail design prevents flipping, vibrant colors engage toddlers, and it is an affordable option.

Cons: Limited adjustability, may not be suitable for larger babies.

Splasher by Konfidence Kids Swim Trainer Vest:

Features: This inflatable life vest provides buoyancy and supports proper swimming posture. Features adjustable buckles and bright colors.

Pros: Encourages swimming skills development, comfortable fit, grows with your child (up to 4 years).

Cons: Requires some inflation, may not be suitable for all toddlers (confidence level).

Aqua Leisure Puddle Jumper Infant Swim Trainer Life Jacket:

Features: This USCG-approved life jacket offers buoyancy and supports proper swimming posture. Features adjustable buckles and a comfortable fit.

Pros: Provides a sense of security, encourages swimming skills development, comfortable design.

Cons: It requires some inflation and a bulkier design than floaties.

Final Words

When choosing a baby swimming float or floaties, prioritize safety, comfort, and age-appropriateness. Use these products responsibly, with constant adult supervision, and focus on creating a fun and positive experience for your little one in the water.

Join the conversation and share your insights and experiences in the comments below to enrich our understanding of when babies can take their first swim!

Happy splashing!

FAQs: Baby Swimming Floats and Floaties

1. Are swimming floats and floaties safe for my baby?

Swimming floats and floaties can provide a sense of security and allow for some independent splashing, but they are not safety devices. Constant adult supervision is crucial whenever babies and toddlers are in or around water. Even with a float, a child can slip out or flip over unexpectedly.

2. What type of float is best for my baby’s age?

The type of float will depend on your baby’s age and developmental stage. See the article’s section on “Choosing the Right Swimming Float for Different Age Groups” for a detailed breakdown.

3. Do I need a US Coast Guard certified float?

Yes, choosing a float with US Coast Guard (USCG) certification is highly recommended. This indicates the float meets specific safety standards.

4. Can swimming floats help my baby learn to swim?

While swimming floats can be a fun introduction to the water, they are not a substitute for proper swimming lessons. Consider enrolling your child in swim classes once they are old enough and developmentally ready.

5. What are some alternatives to swimming floats?

For younger babies, consider holding them in the water or using a baby carrier specifically designed for swimming. Pool noodles or kickboards can provide some buoyancy while allowing toddlers to practice basic swimming skills under close supervision.

To further enhance your baby’s safety and your peace of mind, consider enrolling in our swim classes in West Hills. Our experienced instructors specialize in infant water safety and swimming techniques, ensuring your little ones learn in a safe, supportive, and fun environment.

Guest article.

The above may not coincide with the methodology and opinion of the SwimRight Academy Team.

James Setton
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