Although floating around the pool for some much-needed pampering may seem like the ideal situation for your baby, experts are now warning parents against the newly popular baby spas. Last month, photos of babies chilling in tubs with flotation devices around their necks flooded our Instagram feeds and stole our hearts, but now, Birthlight, a nonprofit family-focused organization, has weighed in on the harm that these devices can have on your child.
In a new report, Birthlight and the Swimming Teachers' Association (STA) state that the neck rings can pose physical, neurological, and psychological risks. For starters, the baby spas isolate your child from "human contact." Although parents and employees are nearby for safety purposes, they cannot enjoy the experience of moving freely while isolated. In the report, Francoise Freedman, the founder of Birthlight, said, "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."
She continued: "When babies hang vertically in water with their heads supported by a semi-rigid foam structure — particularly those under five months — concern arises about compression of the soft and subtle vertebrae in their necks, and strain in ligaments and muscles. Infant development proceeds from the head down and head control is the first huge task babies master in their early months, followed by rolling. The main body movements that help babies to achieve these first milestones are restricted by neck rings."
It's incredibly important for parents to understand all the possible risks of these flotation devices around their child's neck before placing them in the water at such a young age. See the full report here.