Family pool time is the best, especially when your baby can hang with you in their baby pool float. Sunshine, splashing, sliding, lounging, and *constant* attention from Mama. In reality, you become a glorified lifeguard wielding sunscreen, sun hats, and drinks (not the fun kind). If only there was something to keep your baby or infant safe, sun-protected, and happy, without all the work… But wait, there is! Enter, the baby pool float with a built-in canopy, a summertime and sunny vacation essential. These buoyant beauties are the secret parenting weapon for poolside (or oceanside, or lakeside) get-togethers. And there’s plenty to choose from: Some baby swim floats have bells and whistles that will keep Baby occupied and engaged. Then there’s the highly-sought-after SwimWays Baby Spring Float with Canopy, and of course, there are flamingo and unicorn-themed options for an Instagram-worthy pool party.
Are Baby Pool Floats Safe?
There are few different types of baby pool floats these days, so in short: some are safe. Baby floats with sunshades and canopies, where they can fully rest their entire body without sunburn, is what we’d recommend for your little ones. Wondering which ones to avoid? Baby neck floats (a big no-no due to a higher risk of drowning) and baby float suits (which are usually for older toddlers because they don’t keep your baby’s head out of the water) are the other pool float options we’d say to shy away from when it comes to infants. A full baby pool float with a shade canopy — like the ones below — is the way to go.
We’ve rounded up baby swim floats with built-in shade that are compact and great for travel (i.e. inflatable) and some are great for kiddies learning how to swim. But the best part? All of the floats below have canopies for shade to protect precious skin from the powers of the sun. Check out our top picks to find the perfect vessel for your little water baby.
Best Baby Pool Float
Let your baby decide how they want to steer this ship. This pool float from LAYCOL allows your baby to sit either facing forward or backward. The float also features a removable UPF50+ sun canopy perfect for those indoor pool days. Shoulder straps also make sure they won’t slide out or flip over.
One customer wrote, “This float has been absolutely amazing! Both positions are super comfortable for my daughter. She floats happily around the pool for as long as well let her and she sleeps so well after a day of kicking around in the water. The plastic is really thick and doesn’t seem like it would be pierced easily. Came with a patch just in case. I can definitely see this lasting more than one summer.”
Best Swim Floats With Canopies For First-Time Water Babies
This adorable eight-legged float has it ALL: An activity center for play (and teething), a spring seat that keeps baby stable, and a removable and adjustable sun shade with UPF 50+ sun protection. It also folds into a carrying case for easy travel and storage, because why would you ever want to go to the beach/lake/pool without it?
Reviewers feel this float keeps their little ones safely upright as they learn to get acclimated to the water. “Best. Float. Ever,” says one buyer and mother of two. “I bought this float and now I can relax (as much as you can while keeping eyes on both kids) and let my kiddos enjoy the warm weather. The seat is mesh and allows for the baby’s legs to relax in the water. The inflatable ring around the mesh seat serves as a back/neck rest for my little guy. His upper body stays mostly dry while he lays back under the adjustable UV protection canopy.”
Here’s a good option for the teeny tiny water babies. The reclined backrest and harness make it safe and sturdy. And the mesh canopy sides let you have eyes on them from every angle. Your little will love lounging like the prince or princess that he or she is in this throne of a floatie.
“This was the best purchase I’ve made in a long time,” says a reviewer. “It was perfect for on our vacation to st Maarten. It was easy to inflate and traveled well. I was able to pack it in my carryon as it didn’t take up much space. The adjustable canopy worked great in keeping the sun out of the baby’s face and she was comfortable floating around the pool! So many other guests commented on how much she seemed to like it. I highly recommend this whether it’s for home or travel.”
Best Pool Floats With Canopies For Babies
Make a splash (literally) with the raddest pool float in existence. Outfit your BB in some cool shades and a flouncy one-piece (or swimming trunks for the boys), and you’ll be good to go for hours of supervised fun. What better way to introduce your little one to the water than with a big ol’ hot pink flamingo-shaped float (canopy shade included, y’all!)?!? Recommended for 6-48 months, this bad boy is constructed from high-quality non-toxic PVC.
We can’t tell you how many parents recommended this pool float for first-time swimmers. Says one customer, “This was the perfect floatie for my 11 month old’s first time in a swimming pool! It arrived very neatly packed and folded flat which was perfect for packing in our suitcase.” Another customer shares, “We bought this floaty for our vacation in Aruba and since then we take it with us whenever we go for swimming in the pool. Our daughter absolutely loves it. It’s very well made, easy to inflate and super adorable. It has detachable canopy, perfect for sunny day to protect our daughter’s delicate skin. I highly recommend this product.”
For kiddos who like to do more than just lounge in their pool floaty, this whale float with a steering wheel from Peradix is just what they need. Available in either blue or orange, this adorable whale float works for kiddos age three months to three years! It features a removable sun canopy and triple-layer PVC making it more secure and durable than your average pool float.
“I love this float!! It was one of the only things that helped my 1 1/2 year old son get in the water,” a reviewer wrote. “He loves turning the wheel and beeping the horn. We didn’t really use the canopy- just threw a hat on him -but the float is awesome. He even wants to play with it out of the water. We’ll use it until my son is too big. It is a hit with him and a purchase well worth it.”
Bring on those Baby Shark do-do-do-do-do vibes with this ferocious float. Made for babies 6-36 months, this inflatable sharky allows babies to safely join the pool time fun with the rest of the family. The extra-thick PVC makes it durable and super sturdy, and the adjustable/removable cover includes bells in the teeth for a fun sensory experience. Pair it with your own adult shark floats for a cute family photo opp. (This year’s holiday cards, perhaps?)
“I was totally surprised by the quality of this float!” says one reviewer. “Not only is it adorable but it wasn’t too bad to inflate and it’s held firm for two months and counting! I was expecting a leak but it’s solid! My granddaughter loved it and we loved her in it!”
If you’re looking for a super affordable option with ample sun protection, this is your best bet. The inflatable canopy can be pulled back if needed, and there’s a rattle hand bar that gives baby something to hang onto and play with.
“Bought these for my granddaughters to use in a lake,” says a reviewer. “Both girls really enjoyed being in them! Sturdy enough to hold the girls upright and very stable. The leg holes were not too big, and their little bodies fit into the float very well! The top shade kept the sun off of them. Like that the roof attachment velcros to the float. Makes getting them in and out of the float very easy! Woud definitely recommend!”
Let the little one think they’re steering the ship with this wheel and horn. The handles are great for zipping around the pool and it includes a carrying bag, mama and baby rubber duckies, and an air pump. The baby swimming float canopy is both adjustable and removable.
“My one year old loved this,” says a reviewer. “It seemed plenty sturdy and was gentle enough on her legs. She enjoyed her first pool trip so much that she wanted to play in it when back in the room.”
How sweet is this ice cream-themed float? The sprinkle-covered sun shade provides plenty of sun coverage and the secure 3-point harness keeps them snug inside. Better yet, the price is right! Just get ready for your kids to request frozen sweet treats every time they use it.
“I loved the float, it is very sturdy!” says a reviewer. “The inflatable cupcake top keeps her out of the sun and it’s very shady. You can take it off if you’d like, it has Velcro on the sides to be able to remove the top. It’s a great product! I highly recommend it.”
As your little one gets acquainted with the water for the first time, don’t hesitate to bring in some reinforcements to help lure them in. Besides their favorite stuffed teddy bear (safely watching poolside) and a frozen treat for later, this frog rider baby float from Poolmaster is sure to win them over. It has a comfortable drop seat with secure leg holes, as well as a retractable canopy for sun protection. If you’re the type of mama who likes to snap photos of well, everything, then we know you’ll love the adorable duckling design. Uhmmm, how stinking cute?! (Side note: There’s also a frog, baby bear, baby buggy, giraffe, or snail pool float to make you smile.) One mama shares, “My baby girl loves this and so do I! It is very sturdy and gives her independence and gives me the ability to enjoy the pool with her.”
Love these warm weather must-haves? Check out more of our mom-approved top picks for all the best baby gear!