You may have recently seen a viral video doing the rounds on social media showing babies wearing what are in essence, floating rings around their necks. The video shows babies seemingly very relaxed and swimming unaided without adults presents in a pool or bath.

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Two of the UK’s major swimming organisations, STA and Birthlight have published an article regarding these and we wanted to make you aware of the content. They are urging parents to seriously think about the potential dangers of using floating neck rings on babies, a new report warns about the damaging effect this aquatic activity could have on your children’s physical, neurological and emotional development.

These floatation devices are being marketed as a so called spa for babies, where parents or caregivers are watching from the side of the pool without knowing the potential risk they are running in doing so, leaving a baby hanging vertically by their necks using a semi rigid foam or plastic structure.

An extract from the article is as follows “Kaylë Burgham, STA’s Aquatics Manager who promotes aquatic activities that best support infant development, said: While disengaging from the world in floating tanks can be wonderfully relaxing for stressed adults; this is not what babies want or need – physically or emotionally.

This isolated activity completely goes against the very essence of baby swimming, which is human contact: bonding with your child so they can explore the water in a safe, relaxed, fun environment, she added.

Francoise Freedman, the founder of Birthlight and one of the world’s leading experts on baby swimming says: The water is wonderful for expanding babies’ opportunities to explore the reflexes, movement patterns and pathways for sensory and motor development. These babies being placed in floating rings are missing out on what the water can uniquely offer to promote and mediate a dynamic connection between parents and babies.

Plus there are the potential risks linked to the frequent use of a neck device that claims total safety and apparent comfort for babies, yet deprives them of the freedom to move which we now know can have long term implications, explains Francoise.

Co-author of the report, Shawn Tomlinson, Birthlight and STA baby swimming tutor, says further: A neck ring creates a vacuum where the baby is incapacitated and cannot connect with anyone or anything. There are no safe boundaries to touch or feel. Self-expression through body language, which the water ideally facilitates, is lost because movements are restricted.

Both STA and Birthlight, alongside leading baby swimming providers, are united in saying that this activity involving neck rings cannot be promoted for routine use without serious warnings to all parents.”

To read the rest of the report you can follow the link here.