- The Best Infant Float Suit Reviews (Top Picks)
- 1. Best Teaching Suit: Parner Swimming Baby Float
- 2. Best Ring Protector: Philonext Baby Swimming Float
- 3. Best Introduction To Water Toy: SwimWays Infant Spring Float
- 4. Best Extra Flotation: iGeeKid Baby Pool Float
- 5. Best Alternative: Camlinbo Baby Swim Trainer
- 6. Best Wide Protector: SwimSchool Sparky The Shark
- 7. Premium Option: HECCEI Baby Float
- Newborn Floatation Device Buyer’s Guide – Your Guide To Selecting The Best Product
- Where Are All The Floatie Suits?
- Types Of Baby Flotation Devices
- Play Areas
- Sizing Options
- Weight And Flotation Devices
- Are Canopies Important?
- Why Do Babies Need Flotation Devices?
- How Long Will A Baby Float Last?
- Can I Let My Baby Play In The Pool Unsupervised If They’re Using A Float?
- Maintaining Your Infant Float
- Drawbacks Of Infant Floats
- Should I Also Get A Neck Float For My Baby?
- Best Infant Float Device Comparison Chart
- Wrap Up
Finding the best infant float suit is an essential part of taking any small child down to the water. These infant float suit reviews focus on options for children 6-12 months old, and this article also includes some other considerations to consider before you go shopping.
(If your kid’s age is between 1-2 years, you should rather read: Best Toddler Float Suits)
The Best Infant Float Suit Reviews (Top Picks)
This section includes our seven top infant float suits. These reviews are in a numbered list, but the numbers themselves are not a ranking, and the reviews are not in any particular order.
1. Best Teaching Suit: Parner Swimming Baby Float
Parner’s swimming baby float is a flexible and creative approach to pool safety for toddlers, and it stands out in an industry dominated by simple ring floaties. This product uses unusually wide floats to help prevent rollovers while also adding soft bottom support with an extra detachable float.
The front side is particularly nice here, with a raised bumper that encourages good posture and natural swimming motions. A robust harness ensures babies can’t slip out of the unit, either, and that’s essential for a high-quality product.
The exterior of this product uses 0.35mm PVC, which is reasonably durable and safe for infants to play around with. However, you should keep in mind that this is not a real safety device like a life jacket, and it requires oversight from an adult at all times.
- More affordable than most other pool safety devices
- Creative design is easy for babies to use and helps prevent accidents
- It has thicker exterior materials than most other products
- It comes with a miniature air pump for inflating
- This is not a life-saving product, just a flotation aid
- Inflating it incorrectly could lead to overturning
- Only suitable for teaching the breaststroke or backstroke movements
2. Best Ring Protector: Philonext Baby Swimming Float
Philonext’s baby float is less of a suit and more of a flotation aid they can wear a suit with, but options are limited for newborns in the 6-12 month range. One of this product’s most notable traits is the tall canopy, which helps reduce the odds of sunburn and overall exposure. The canopy is removable, too, which is a nice bonus option.
Two firm handles and a toy steering wheel offer ample places for a child to grab on while they play. Having a good grip on something also encourages them to move their legs more, which is good for getting exercise. The included air pump makes it much easier to inflate and is a must for products in this range.
The exterior uses durable 0.25mm PVC, which is sturdy but still a bit weaker than the first product above. It’s more than adequate for regular use, but keep in mind that any sharp objects added to the pool could still puncture it, so never let your baby swim unsupervised.
- Reasonably affordable
- Especially good for babies who are prone to flopping around
- The canopy is an outstanding addition
- It doesn’t have safety straps built-in
- Not a life-saving device
- Could generate small amounts of static electricity
3. Best Introduction To Water Toy: SwimWays Infant Spring Float
There’s something to be said for products that minimize their use of air for flotation. This product doesn’t entirely avoid that, but it relies far less on air than most of the other products on this list, which makes it much better for anyone who doesn’t want to pump things up as much.
SwimWays’ floating device is particularly useful for introducing children to the water. The thoughtful design helps them stay mostly out of the water, although they may be able to kick their feet in it just a little as they grow. Meanwhile, a sturdy strap helps them stay in place, which a tall, non-inflatable cover provides shade similar to a stroller.
However, this product is also more expensive than many of our other options, and it’s not as useful as choices that let you set a newborn in the pool itself. For that reason, it’s hard to recommend this over some other options, though it could be useful for several months or for children who have a particularly hard time getting comfortable in the pool.
- A durable design that doesn’t rely as much on air flotation
- The wide canopy offers a familiar stroller-like feeling
- Includes straps to keep infants in place while they’re enjoying the pool
- More for floating on a pool than going into it
- Most children will outgrow this product fairly quickly
- Still requires some air
4. Best Extra Flotation: iGeeKid Baby Pool Float
iGeeKid’s pool float is essentially the opposite of our previous product. Rather than minimizing inflation space, it maximizes it with thick walls and canopy tubes that provide soft yet resilient support for playing in the pool.
The main hard part of this item is a steering wheel similar to the one on our #2 product, complete with a child-friendly beeping horn to help them stay involved. This float otherwise has no sharp edges and relies on soft supports and a wide base to keep young children upright.
Unlike most of the other products here, iGeeKid’s float comes in two colors: blue/green and pink/yellow. This is a surprising level of variety for products in this category, but it’s nice to have a choice here.
- Large size offers excellent flotation support as newborns continue growing
- Wide shade offers protection from the sun
- Difficult to fall out of thanks to its high walls
- More vulnerable to punctures than some other options
- The horn could get annoying if kids keep pressing it
- Does not come with a fast inflation device
5. Best Alternative: Camlinbo Baby Swim Trainer
Camlimbo’s floater is a strong competitor for the first item we reviewed, but a few details distinguish it from its competition. First, the large size is suitable for children ranging from 6 to 30 months, which offers plenty of use time after you buy it.
Second, the combination of shoulder straps and crotch supports minimize the possibility of sliding around uncomfortable, forcing the floater to instead move with your child. A dual airbag setup provides extra support and protection, as well as making it easier to adjust the feel of the float without significantly impacting its effectiveness.
However, this does have one major drawback compared to the first product we reviewed: it doesn’t have an extra back float. That’s not a huge problem, but we value safety more than anything else when considering products for children. That said, this toy does come in three different colors, which is a nice bonus.
- It has a robust and efficient design
- An abdomen support panel provides a comfortable resting place
- The placement of the airbags encourages a natural swimming motion
- Comes in several colors
- Has less flotation power than the first product we reviewed
- Can be hard to find the small version for 6-12 month infants
- Good, but hard to justify over the slightly better overall product we reviewed first
6. Best Wide Protector: SwimSchool Sparky The Shark
SwimSchool offers several different flotation devices for children, but none are quite as good as the Sparky the Shark version. This float offers an extra-large canopy with wider coverage than most other toys, which is particularly useful for newborns with sensitive skin and those playing around dawn or dusk.
Additionally, this toy allows children to go a little deeper into the water, propping them up around chest height within the pool. This type of gradual immersion can help them get used to moving around, while the broad ring support helps prevent them from bumping into anything too hard or harmful.
The ample surface area has another bonus in making this product quite resistant to tipping over, even with larger children. With a recommended use of 6-24 months, it won’t last quite as long as some other options on this list, but the same could be said of most toys for fast-growing children.
- Comes with a wide play area
- Rare, extra-wide removable canopy provides the best protection from the sun
- Dual air chambers resist complete puncturing
- Somewhat more expensive than most other options
- May tilt a little if children lean too much while inside of it
- Better for large children than smaller ones
7. Premium Option: HECCEI Baby Float
All six of the other products on this list are inflatable. HECCEI’s baby float, in contrast, is a foam float similar to life jackets that offer significantly more reliable support for enjoying the pool.
The outside is covered with swimwear fabric and TPU film wrap, both of which are soft and comfortable on the skin. It’s also usable in two ways, allowing your child to learn both the breaststroke and the backstroke.
There is some risk of flipping with this product, although that isn’t actually a huge problem since babies should never be in the pool alone or unsupervised. The main drawback is the price. This item is several times more expensive than the other floaties on this list, but it’s also better at floating for long periods and far more durable against punctures and other harm.
- It has outstanding flotation power
- Its solid body has no air leaks
- It is suitable for long-term use
- It’s available in several colors
- Significantly more expensive than other options
- It still has some risk of flipping
- Not as good for larger kids
(You might be interested in reading our article on Best Child Float Suits)
Newborn Floatation Device Buyer’s Guide – Your Guide To Selecting The Best Product
Here are the things you should know before you go shopping for a flotation device for a child under one-year-old.
Where Are All The Floatie Suits?
They don’t exist. Children can start wearing float suits at one year old. Before that time, which is the period this guide is focusing on, children should use some type of larger ring float that offers added protection and support. However, options like the #7 are fundamentally similar to float suits in that the child can wear a swimsuit and be ringed by flotation supports.
The main reason float suits themselves aren’t useful before one year old is that infants below this age generally don’t have the strength or the stamina to hold themselves up properly. It’s much easier for them to sit or lean on a larger item, rather than moving their own body around to keep their head out of the water.
Types Of Baby Flotation Devices
All flotation devices for babies less than one-year-old have the same general design: a ring of floating material (usually air, sometimes foam) with or without a canopy to protect them from the sun.
The major distinguishing feature between flotation devices is how much of the child’s body they put into the water, and therefore how much they can help a child swim and exercise. Some devices keep them almost entirely out of the water, while others put up to half of their body into the pool.
Which device is right for your child depends on how you want them to spend time in the pool. If you want to teach them how to swim, then floaties that put most of their body in the water are better. On the other hand, if you want them to play a little but also relax, then get something that lets them sit down instead. This is better for longer pool sessions.
The play area on a newborn flotation device is the area between the outside of the float and the area where the child sits. Many dual-ring floats have a durable mesh here that lets water through but is sturdy enough to hold lightweight toys that a child may want to move around.
Play areas are extremely useful for encouraging activity in the pool because they give a safe if limited area where a child can reach out and interact with things. Encouraging children to reach out and move is important for their overall development, so anything that does this is fundamentally helpful.
Play areas also serve as a buffer between the child and any obstacles in the pool, such as a wall. Most infants don’t have the leg strength to do more than slightly paddle themselves around, so having a wide area between them and the outside of the float helps ensure they’ll be safe even if they charge directly at a wall.
Some floats do not have a proper play area, just a bumper ring that serves as the main body of the float itself. In general, play areas are correlated to how much of the child’s body will be in the water. Chest-depth devices, like the Camlinbo trainer, have no proper play areas. The SwimSchool shark float, on the other hand, has a particularly large play area.
Most floats for babies under a year old come in several sizes, designed for children of different weights and ages. Most err slightly towards the large size so they can be useful for a longer period. This is particularly true for sit-in floats, which are usable for a much longer period.
Ring-style options, such as the HECCEI float described above, are useful for a much shorter period. Children will outgrow these fairly quickly, although how fast that occurs depends on factors like diet, genetics, and the amount of exercise they receive. No product guide is truly universal, so don’t assume it will hold exactly true for your child.
Size names vary when options are available, but most companies use the standard small, medium, large, and occasionally extra-large names. On rare occasions, you may see products labeled 2xl, 3xl, 4xl, 5xl, or even 6xl. These are unusual for infant-focused devices, but may be used for products designed to last for longer periods.
Weight And Flotation Devices
Most flotation devices for newborns less than a year old are suitable for children weighing up to 44 lbs, and they may not be appropriate beyond that point. If your child is on the heavy side, you may need to switch to a floater that suits larger children.
The main flaw in baby flotation devices is the exterior materials used to support them. Unlike regular life jackets, baby devices may need to support most of their weight along seams, and that can lead to holes and tears if they get too big.
Solid flotation devices may also be able to support people weighing over 200 pounds, over 250 pounds, or even over 300 pounds depending on the amount of buoyancy provided.
Are Canopies Important?
That depends on how long your baby will be in the pool. Children are fine for short periods, but if they’ll be in the pool for a while, it’s better to have a canopy that can protect them from the shade. Keep the shape of the canopy in mind while you’re going shopping.
Floats with overhead canopies work best for mid-day pool sessions when they can block the majority of light coming from above. However, these tend to have openings near the bottom where the sun can come straight in during the early or late hours, so they’re fundamentally flawed.
Better canopies, including the one on the SwimSchool shark float, offer added coverage and can be used at any time of day. If you don’t have full control over your pool times, look for floats with larger canopies and fewer gaps.
While bigger canopies are generally better, they do have one flaw: they also block your line of sight. Depending on the design, your baby could be entirely out of your sight for a little while, and that can be a problem in its own right. There’s rarely an issue as long as you can right them if they flip, but it’s worth deciding how to balance protection and visibility before you buy.
Why Do Babies Need Flotation Devices?
Babies can’t swim on their own, so they need flotation devices to keep their heads above water. This is especially true for children under one-year-old, who don’t have the muscular development to support themselves in the water.
It’s possible to teach children to swim from a young age, but this requires gradually introducing them to the water as they grow. You may need to buy several different types of flotation devices over the months and first few years if you’re teaching them how to swim.
Drowning is a real threat in pools regardless of age. For more information on this, check out our interactive resource for US drowning statistics, worldwide drowning statistics, and drowning prevention.
How Long Will A Baby Float Last?
That depends on the exact float. Many options are designed for infants and children up to two years old or so. Some may last longer, while others could stop being useful as early as twelve months. Regardless, most floats should last through your baby’s growth period as long as you take proper care of them.
Air-based floats are less likely to last for multiple children, although they’re affordable enough that this is rarely an issue. Solid foam floats will last much longer than any inflatable option.
Can I Let My Baby Play In The Pool Unsupervised If They’re Using A Float?
Baby floats, in general, are not life-saving devices. They are not designed to rescue children from rough waters, and most of them are not suitable for extended periods of use. Even solid floats like the HECCEI are not the same as a life jacket.
As such, you should never let a baby play in the pool without adult supervision, preferably no more than two or three seconds away if the child flips their toy over. Most baby floats are resistant to flipping, but this isn’t guaranteed, and they generally have no ability to right themselves.
The best baby floats have straps of some type that can keep them in place. If they’re only sitting in a chair-like contraption, they may crawl or pull themselves out of the float and into the water. Harnesses eliminate the possibility of this happening, so we generally recommend products using those above all the alternatives.
Maintaining Your Infant Float
Floats require different types of maintenance, so always check the manufacturer’s instructions. However, there are a few basic principles to follow.
First, clean all floats after use. This usually involves washing them with clean water and sometimes using a child-safe sanitizer. Most floats will contain trace residue of chemicals after use, particularly chlorine, so cleaning them immediately helps avoid problems.
Next, air dry all floats after cleaning them. Solid floats tend to dry quickly, while air-based floats should dry well enough after you deflate them. Make sure they are fully dry before you put them away, or they could grow mold or get damaged while left in storage. We also want to avoid unpleasant smells, which could make infants reluctant to go back into the pool.
Finally, store your floats in a cool, dry place while they’re not in use. Most floats are moderately tolerant to heat, particularly because they’re meant for outdoor use in the summer, but cycles of heating and cooling from direct exposure to sunlight in storage could wear them out much faster.
Outside of these principles, be sure to regularly check the float while it’s in use to be sure there are no leaks or other problems. Solid floats generally don’t have issues at all, but air-based floats are more prone to failure.
If the float seems like it’s deflating, remove it (and your child) from the pool immediately. If the float is new, it may still be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Discontinue use immediately, and do not let your child back into the pool until you have a replacement.
Drawbacks Of Infant Floats
There are no drawbacks to infant floats bad enough to avoid using them if you’re in a pool. However, products may have individual drawbacks that make them worse than competing options. Here are some problem points to consider when you’re buying a float for a newborn.
Lack Of Straps
Straps are undoubtedly one of the key parts of infant safety while they’re in the pool. They keep children locked in a good position and minimize the risk of tipping by preventing them from moving their weight too far.
Straps aren’t limited to upright seats or lying back, either. Teaching floats, which encourage a natural body position, also use straps to keep children in place. You never know what a child is going to do next, so it’s better to use straps on a float if you can get them.
Durability Of Materials
Nothing is more durable than a solid flotation device. The HECCEI product described above is vastly more resilient to punctures and other damage, and it’s the only product on the list that’s likely to last through several children if needed. You may need to sew new fabric onto it, but it more than gets the job done.
Most other floats use some variant of PVC, a high-strength plastic polymer that can hold pressurized air for extended materials. Most air-based floats only need about 90% inflation to work well, and should not be inflated to their full capacity. That puts extra, unnecessary pressure on the seams.
The average thickness of PVC for infant floats is about 0.25mm, which is adequate but not amazing. If it’s too thick, it can’t bend and fold while deflating, so there are realistic limits on what you can do with it. Higher-quality products may have up to 0.35mm of PVC, which is noticeably more durable and likely to last.
However, don’t limit your attention to the main float material when you’re buying. Many floats for infants also have a secondary material covering the places infants are most likely to touch. The best products use swimsuit fabric designed for infants, which is exceptionally soft and broadly better than any competing material.
These aren’t as important as direct safety measures, but most infant floats only have one or two color options. This can be a problem if you’re going to a public pool, where a lack of variety in toy colors can make it harder to spot your child if they get lost in a crowd.
We prefer products with bright exterior colors, such as orange or pink. These are easier to spot than blues or greens, especially in a crowd. Since colors can affect how quickly you can find a lost float, this is fundamentally a safety issue, and you should treat it as such when deciding between products.
Should I Also Get A Neck Float For My Baby?
Experts agree that neck floaties, which function similarly to life jackets, are fundamentally dangerous for infants. The main reason for this is that babies this young aren’t done developing their neck muscles, so flotation devices could put unnecessary strain on their bodies. It is always better to avoid this.
Similarly, avoid using flotation armbands or other devices for infants below one-year-old. The only suitable floats for children this young are seats (like most of the products we reviewed) or rafts that provide neck and body support while they’re in the pool.
The neck support is especially important because young children may not be able to hold their heads out of the pool on their own.
Best Infant Float Device Comparison Chart
|Product Name||Price||Size in Inches (LxWxH)||Weight capacity (Pounds)||Distinct Features|
|Parner Swimming Baby Float||$||8''x7.5''x2.5''||38 lbs||Passed by ASTM, CPC, and CE Certification. 100% Safe and Non-toxic|
|Philonext Baby Swimming Float||$||21''x32''x23''||44 lbs||Extremely durable PVC material and non-toxic ink printing, waterproof, easy to inflate|
|SwimWays Infant Spring Float||$||34''x30''x20.5''||44 lbs||3-point adjustable harness, dual inflation chambers, child safety valves for security and a patented inner spring for stability|
|iGeeKid Baby Pool Float||$||32''x21''x23''||33 lbs||Inflatable car boats are made of eco-friendly PVC material special for kids|
|Camlinbo Baby Swim Trainer||$||18.9''x18.11''x3.9''||33 lbs||Made from high quality eco-friendly PVC grains,shoulder strap, back airbags, abdomen support and bottom croth for protection|
|SwimSchool Sparky The Shark||$||6.13''x15.75''x13''||30-50 lbs||Rare, extra-wide removable canopy provides best protection from sun|
|HECCEI Baby Float||$||46.99''x43.69''x8.89''||13-40 lbs||High-quality swimwear fabric and TPU film wrap which looks like leather but touches like skin.|
By this point, you know more about infant floats and what separates these products from each other. We touched on this earlier, but the most important part of picking a pool float for an infant is deciding how much you want to immerse them in the pool. Each product functions exactly one way, from keeping them entirely clear of the water to giving enough immersion for swimming.
You should also consider factors like sun exposure, your child’s speed of development, and whether or not you want to reuse the float for other children. Price-wise, you can expect most pool floats for children to be less than $50, with some being as low as $20. We don’t recommend paying more than $50 for an air-based float.