8 Best Baby Pool Floats With Safety in Mind 2024

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I know spring has only just begun, but I’m already counting down the days until summer! Or at least until it’s warm enough to break out some beach toys and baby pool floats. (Oh, how I envy anyone who lives somewhere warm enough to be reading this poolside!)

And as parents start shopping for even sunnier days (Maybe Mother Nature will get the hint if you start packing a bag!), it’s time to think about what you’ll need if you have a baby joining you on pool days. Of course, you’ll want the best sunscreen and rash guards. Perhaps some teeny little sunglasses or a floppy sun hat. You might even want a fan to keep them cool and some toys to keep them occupied.

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And if your little one is brave enough to dunk their toes into the water, you’ll definitely want a pool float specifically made for them and their itty bitty peers. We at SheKnows know how important swim safety is, and so we tapped leading experts to find out what parents and caregivers should look for when shopping for pool floats for a baby.

Best Baby Pool Floats at a Glance

Most Entertaining & Expert-Recommended: SwimWays Baby Spring Float Activity Center; $27
Best Budget-Friendly Option & Expert-Recommended: Intex My Baby Float (2 Pack); $13
Most Versatile & Expert-Recommended: Mambobaby Float Deluxe; $67
Most Sun Protection: Mambobaby Baby Swim Float With Tail And Canopy; $109
Best For Twins: Poolmaster Mommy & US Swimming Pool Baby Rider; $33
Best Mommy and Me Float: SwimWays Baby Spring Float Mommy and Me with Canopy; $28
Most Beloved On Amazon: LAYCOL Baby Swimming Float; $25
Most Fun Shape: iGeeKid Inflatable Car-Shaped Baby Pool Float; $17

What to Look for in Baby Pool Floats

There’s a lot to consider when shopping for baby pool floats. We know you want something that’s as safe as it is cute, so you’ll want to think about proper sizing, safety features, and the color. (More on that later!)

A common theme we heard from experts is that pool floats are not a guarantee. “Parents need to remember that the pool float is not a safety device and need to be within arms reach at all times,” Dr. Molly O’Shea, official pediatrician of Goldfish Swim School, tells SheKnows.

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It might seem counterintuitive, but Dr. O’Shea and other experts told us caregivers should limit the time babies spend in pool floats because they will get used to being in an upright position, which is actually the position that leads to drowning. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), drowning is the leading cause of injury death in children ages 1-4. “Young children can drown in as little as an inch or two of water, and it can happen quickly and silently,” their educational site says.

As such, vigilant supervision and safety-focused swim lessons are a definite necessity.

All that said, you’ll likely still want a pool float on hand so your baby can enjoy the water and your arms can enjoy a break from carrying them. Just be sure to always have a hand on the float.

How to Pick the Right Size

When choosing the size of a baby pool float, you’ll want to look at the recommended age and weight. And while you might be used to sizing up in things like clothing (since they grow so darn fast!), you really want to stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations here.

“Your child should feel snug in the float’s seat without wiggle room to get out,” Chris DeJong, founder and president of Big Blue Swim School, tells SheKnows.

What Features Should You Look For?

Along with straps and buckles, our experts recommend wide floats for increased stability and those that come with a sun canopy even though additional sun safety practices are still important.

“It is always recommended to keep babies and infants out of direct sunlight due to their delicate skin,” DeJong says. “Luckily, many of the best infant swim floats come with a shaded canopy that keeps your child covered. Remember – it is still important to apply baby sunscreen.”

What Color Should You Choose?

Told ya we’d get back to this! When it comes to shopping for pool floats for babies or swim gear for kids of any age, you should reach for bright, vibrant colors, Cullen Jones tells SheKnows. The decorated Olympic swimmer and water safety expert for Leslie’s says it’s all about increasing visibility and making it easier to see kids in the pool.

“Parents and guardians should avoid colors that imitate or blend in with the color of water or the bottom of a pool surface,” Jones says.

Apologies in advance to any parents who have to break the news to their blue-loving kids that they should give up their favorite color when it comes to swimsuits.

8 Best Baby Pool Floats With Safety in Mind 2024

SwimWays Baby Spring Float Activity Center

Expert-Recommended

Recommended Age: 9-24 months
Recommended Weight: Not listed
Pros:
-Sun canopy
-Wide base
-Toys
Cons:
-Predominantly blue

DeJong calls this float a “fantastic choice” for introducing young kids to the water.

“This float is incredibly stable thanks to its dual inflatable rings and ‘inner spring’ supported base,” he tells us. “Not to mention, it includes a protective sun canopy and playful octopus with toys on each tentacle…We find this to be one of the best pool floats for 18-month-olds, because of the sunshade and toys.”

8 Best Baby Pool Floats With Safety in Mind 2024

Intex My Baby Float

Expert-Recommended

Recommended Age: 1-2 years
Recommended Weight: Max 33 lbs.
Pros:
-Bright color
-Affordable
Cons:
-No sun canopy

DeJong also recommended this “excellent, budget-friendly” float, and we always recommend a two pack (or more!) when shopping for kids.

“Designed for indoor pools, where the sun is not a concern, this float offers remarkable stability,” he says. “Its two inflatable rings nested within each other provide added security, keeping your child upright.”

8 Best Baby Pool Floats With Safety in Mind 2024

Mambobaby Float Deluxe

Expert-Recommended

Recommended Age: 3-24 months
Recommended Weight: 13-40 lbs.
Pros:
-Detachable sun canopy
-Ability to lie forward or backward
-No need to inflate
Cons:
-Takes up more space since it can’t be deflated
-Pricey

DeJong explains that with the versatile Mambobaby float, there are two “secure positions” to choose from. Babies can float on their back, and older infants can lie on their stomach and practice using their legs in the water.

8 Best Baby Pool Floats With Safety in Mind 2024

Mambobaby Baby Swim Float With Tail And Canopy

Recommended Age: 3-24 months
Recommended Weight: 13-40 lbs.
Pros:
-Huge detachable sun canopy
-Five-point harness
-Hanging toys
Cons:
-Takes up more space since it can’t be deflated
-Pricey

This float may have a hefty price tag, but it has earned so many safety points. Not only does it have a large, extendable sun canopy, it also has extra padding and a five-point harness (just like the Mambobaby float above) to keep kiddos in place. Bonus: It comes with fun dangling toys to hold your baby’s attention.

8 Best Baby Pool Floats With Safety in Mind 2024

Poolmaster Mommy & US Swimming Pool Baby Rider

Recommended Age: 8-24 months
Recommended Weight: Up to 40 lbs per baby
Pros:
-Can fit two kids
-Space for parent or caregiver to stand
Cons:
-No sun canopy
-Blue

Parents of twins (or those in the Two Under Two Club!) will appreciate this ingenious float from Poolmaster that allows two babies to ride at once and has a spot specifically for an adult to stand. It also has a central storage area for water toys.

8 Best Baby Pool Floats With Safety in Mind 2024

SwimWays Baby Spring Float Mommy and Me

Recommended Age: 9-24 months
Recommended Weight: Not listed
Pros:
-Detachable sun canopy
-Detachable float for caregivers
Cons:
-Color isn’t as bright as other floats

Remember what we said about the importance of staying close by? Just like the above float for multiple kids, this Mommy and Me float has an area dedicated to keeping a caregiver nearby. The pieces can detach, so when the baby gets out of the pool, an adult can float solo.

8 Best Baby Pool Floats With Safety in Mind 2024

LAYCOL Baby Swimming Float

Recommended Age: 3-36 months
Recommended Weight: 11-48 lbs.
Pros:
-Detachable sun canopy
-Ability to lie forward or backward
Cons:
-Half the color options are predominantly blue

Like the Mambobaby float that DeJong recommended, kids can do a “backstroke” or “breaststroke” in this float that has more than 16 thousand rave reviews on Amazon.

8 Best Baby Pool Floats With Safety in Mind 2024

iGeeKid Inflatable Car-Shaped Baby Pool Float

Recommended Age: 6-36 months
Recommended Weight: Max 44 lbs.
Pros:
-Fun car design
-Sun canopy
Cons:
-Most color options are predominantly blue
-Sun canopy is not adjustable

Car-loving kiddos will get such a kick out of this car-shaped pool float that has a movable steering wheel and a horn that beeps. Does it get much more fun than that?!

Experts in This Article

DR. MOLLY O’SHEA, MD: Official pediatrician of Goldfish Swim School
CHRIS DEJONG: Founder and president of Big Blue Swim School
CULLEN JONES: Four-time Olympic swimming medalist and water safety expert for Leslie’s


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