Baby Girl’s suffocation death highlights danger of Babies using Neck Floats

A month-old baby girl died in Hunan, China after being suffocated by the “neck float donut” she was wearing.

The incident happened earlier on Monday (November 2020). The baby girl’s mother and grandmother had placed her in the neck float for her to ‘swim’ while bathing at home. It was only when the father returned home and found the baby pale, motionless and quiet did alarm bells ring. According to local reports, the mother and grandmother had initially thought the baby was just sleeping after her bath.

The baby was then immediately sent to Hunan Children’s Hospital. According to the hospital, the baby girl had been starved of oxygen for too long, leading to irreversible brain damage. There was also strangulation mark on her neck. The baby girl eventually passed away.

Doctors cautioned that baby wearing neck floats can be dangerous and should only be done under professional guidance.

This tragic accident has become a trending topic on Chinese social media. Most commenters expressed sympathy for the family. Some blamed the adults for being careless and criticized the trend of using baby neck floats.

Why do babies wear neck floats?

Letting babies wear neck floats for baby ‘swimming’ or ‘spa’ sessions has been a parenting trend for some time in Singapore.

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The benefits, as explained by this post sharing about a BabySpa session are: “the baby, while supervised, is kept buoyant in warm water with a specially designed neck float. Such a water training programme is designed for babies between 1-24 months old, and has been proven effective in stimulating their physical, mental and sensory pathways growth. The aqueous environment also mimics the natural setting inside a mother’s womb, allowing newborns to retain their natural affinity in water.

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Baby neck floats can also be easily be bought online and are very cheap. For example, you can get one for less than $4 on Shopee.

The lesson to be drawn from this tragic incident is to always ensure babies in neck floats are supervised closely by trained personnel. Never leave a baby alone in a neck float or any flotation device for the matter. Babies can suffocate from the tightness of the neck float or could drown if the neck float or any flotation device accidentally deflates.

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