The first time I saw a baby wearing one of those neck floaters his/her neck was when we were idling our time away at Bangkok Dolphin’s while waiting for Spud’s baby swimming class to start quite a while back.
Now I don’t know a lot about these neck floaters, neither am I aware of what the general consensus or opinions around it. However, after seeing it for the first time and how it is being fitted onto the child’s neck, I have some serious suspicion about it. My first thoughts were: How can it be safe for a baby? What happens if for some reason the child just slide in, and the baby’s mouth and nose get stuck in between the floater?
The neck floater is a hideous little thing in my opinion. It holds the baby by the neck and suspends the little creature vertically in the water. How anyone can call THAT swimming is beyond me, and any kicking the baby does is no different from when a parent holds or cradles the baby in the water. Neck floaters just look so…wrong.
What baffled me when I saw it was the fact that, here we all are attending a swimming class so our babies can safely learn how to swim, yet there was this parent, who perhaps without much thought, brought along such a floater, dump the child on the side of the swimming pool while the parents looked on from outside the pool? (we are allowed to get into the pool earlier or stay a little later as a another class is in session if we want to and at that time, the parent was doing just that while the instructor was teaching another class)
I was actually appalled at the sight of baby in the neck floater, but apart from muttering something to Silver Bullet, I kept my trap shut. I was (and still am!) curious if the instructor saw the scene at all or if he did, if he had said anything to that particular parent that day.
That was the one and only time I saw that heinous at the swimming class. And apparently, those neck thingies are a really big thing in Asia. If you by now are still wondering what I’m talking about, here is a snapshot taken off Google Image:
(There are also some videos up on YouTube, but I don’t really want to put that up here as I am not advocating such practice)
I don’t know if it offers any health benefits, or if it is being used as some sort of therapy, but gut tells me that something about it is just not right. It is not something one would want to use to teach a normal healthy baby to swim. I don’t want to judge parents who have used it on their child and if you swear by it, so be it and I am glad it works for you.
However, to me that whole neck ring floater concept just feels so, so, very ….wrong. I’m inclined to think that looking at how it is being worn, the level of safety is very questionable. That being said, I am also inclined to say that use it only if you don’t love your baby.
I really think that the people who came up with these things really ought to be shot.