As you head to the lake and pool this holiday weekend, the FDA is warning parents to avoid using baby neck floats. This safety alert comes after the death of a child and the injury of another. While this instance is rare, they officially note that "the risks of using baby neck floats include death due to drowning and suffocation, strain, and injury to a baby's neck."

Many parents use these flotation devices to allow their little ones to float freely in the tub, swimming pool and other bodies of water. This water accessory is also toted as a necessary tool for water therapy interventions for those children with developmental delays and conditions like spina bifida and Down syndrome.

Unfortunately, what a company deems as safe and what health experts recommend can differ drastically. Many of these devices are listed as being safe for children ages two weeks and up. However, health experts and swimming instructors alike have been warning about the dangers of these products for years, no matter the age of the child.

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Additionally, flotation devices like these can give parents a false sense of security, which is likely what happened in the two cases associated with the FDA warning. They note in the report that the children were not being monitored.

However, even under direct supervision, this is an item that is snugly positioned around your child's neck. If they're kicking or moving while wearing this, it doesn't take much pressure to collapse their airway. This is especially the case for children with special needs. Thus, err on the side of caution and just avoid using this product.

You can still have a wonderful time in the water with your little one. Furthermore, for parents who want their kids to experience the water regularly, enroll them in swim lessons. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kid's learn this lifesaving skill as early as their first birthday. There are also survival lessons available for babies as young as six months of age that could save their lives.

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