The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning parents and caregivers not to use neck floats for babies after one child died and another was hospitalized. The inflatable ring floatation device is worn around a baby’s neck to allow them to float freely in the water are marketed for children as young as 2 weeks old. However, the FDA says the use of the products which can lead to “death or serious injury.”
“The FDA is aware that some manufacturers are claiming these products support water therapy interventions in babies with developmental delays or special needs and that the benefits of these products include increased muscle tone, greater flexibility and range of motion, increased lung capacity, better sleep quality, and increased brain and nervous system stimulation. The safety and effectiveness of neck floats to build strength, to promote motor development or as a physical therapy tool, have not been established.”
For children born with special needs requiring water therapy, the devices can be especially dangerous because of the increased risk of neck strain and injury.
In the two cases involving death and hospitalization, the caregivers were not directly monitoring the children after they were placed in the neck floats. Parents or caregivers are urged to report injuries or “adverse events” associated with neck floats through its MedWatch reporting program, along with details and descriptions of the products.
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