Baby neck floats a water bound danger to young children

8 August 2017

The Queensland Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is warning parents and caregivers against using unsafe baby neck floats after recent safety investigations into two products found they failed to meet safety standards and had the potential to cause serious injuries to infants.

Baby neck floats are inflatable plastic rings to support infants floating in water. They are used in the same way as other flotation devices, except they keep only the head afloat, supporting the infant by the neck.

OFT’s investigation into the two separate product lines found they both failed to meet nine clauses of the mandatory standard for swimming and floatation devices.

As the products failed to meet mandatory safety standards, they are banned from sale in Australia and all products sold have been recalled at the supplier’s expense.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said it was crucial that parents chose safe water toys and floatation devices for their children, and closely supervised kids in and around water at all times.

“Baby neck floats were originally designed as medical aids for children with disability, but have recently proliferated as more recreational items,” Mr Bauer said.

“Unless baby neck floats are medically prescribed and professionally fitted, they can be very dangerous.

“If the float is too wide, the baby’s mouth and nose can become obstructed. If the float is too loose, the baby could slip through altogether. If the float is too tight, breathing may become laboured or the carotid artery compressed.

“There are also concerns around stability and the potential for the baby to tip over, particularly if other children are in the water creating an uneven surface.

“If, as a parent, you do choose to purchase a baby neck float, it is strongly recommended you buy one that complies with the mandatory standard, comes with comprehensive instructions on safe use, and follow those instructions closely. OFT strongly recommends that baby neck floats only be used in highly controlled and supervised settings.

“The OFT will continue to monitor the marketplace and ensure suppliers take recall action if products that fail mandatory safety standards are sold.”

The two baby neck floats that failed to meet mandatory safety standards were sold by:

Any consumer who purchased a baby neck float from either trader should return the product for a refund.

Consumers can report baby neck floats being sold by Queensland businesses to the OFT by emailing or calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

Information on toy safety standards and product bans is available from