The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that baby neck floats should not be used for water therapy interventions, particularly with babies with developmental delays or special needs. This warning came after reports that one infant died and another was hospitalized after being in a neck float. The FDA said the babies were not being directly monitored in both cases.
Dangers of the Neck Float
Neck floats are essentially inflatable plastic rings that could be worn around a baby’s neck and allow babies to float freely in the water. Some are marketed for babies as young as two weeks old or premature babies and are designed to cradle an infant’s head while their bodies move freely in the water.
Parents and caregivers have used these products during a baby’s bath, while their baby is swimming or as a physical therapy tool for babies with special needs or disabilities. These products claim benefits including increasing muscle tone, flexibility, range of motion, increasing lung capacity, etc.
But, the FDA has said the effectiveness of the devices when used to increase motor development or as physical therapy “have not been established.” The FDA said some companies are marketing the neck floats as a water therapy tool without FDA clearance or approval. When using a neck float, an infant could drown, suffocate or injure his or her neck.
Product Liability Issues
When a dangerous or defective product causes serious injury or death, victims or families of deceased victims have rights. Injured victims can file a product liability claim against the manufacturer seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, permanent injury, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Families of deceased victims can file a wrongful death claim seeking damages as well. An experienced product liability lawyer will be able to advise victims or families in such cases regarding their legal rights and options.