Best Swim Floaties for 18-Month-Olds – (2023 Updated Guide)


The idea of lounging with your baby in the pool sounds fun and all until the risk of drowning hits you. On the bright side, the earlier you introduce them to swimming, the faster they learn.

Although it’s perfectly safe to teach infants swimming as long as they can hold their head up (3-4 months), most parents will wait a bit longer.

At the 18 month mark, babies start to show some independence, as their motor and cognitive skills develop. Teaching them how to swim or just splash around in the water in a floatie is a great way to instill a sense of independence in your little fellow

Use a floatie to ease them into the water. Take your sweet time finding a high-quality pool float packed with important safety features so that your little fellow can splish and splash all day long risk-free.

In this guide, I am going to go over the key features, benefits, and possible downsides of 5 of the best floaties for 18-month-olds in the market today.

5 Best Swim Pool Floaties for 18-month-olds

Free-Swimming-Baby-Inflatable-Baby-Swim-FloatFree Swimming Baby Inflatable Swim Float
LAYCOL-Baby-Swimming-FloatLAYCOL Baby Swimming Float
Mambobaby-Newest-Non-Inflatable-Baby-FloatMambobaby Non-Inflatable Baby Float
Inflatable-Baby-Swimming-Pool-FloatFindUWill Store Inflatable Baby Pool Float
iGeeKid-Baby-Inflatable-Pool-FloatiGeeKid Baby Inflatable Pool Float

1. Free Swimming Inflatable Baby Swim Float

Free Swimming Baby Inflatable Baby Swim Float

The first product to grace this list of the safest swim floats for 18-month-olds is ideal for putting children in a natural swimming position. It keeps the baby in a slightly leaned forward angle, which is much better than the upright position.

The raised front and wide sides helped my toddler keep his head above the water, kick his feet back and forth and splash around. I love the fact that it comes in several age-appropriate sizes. The floaties run a bit small, so I chose the large size for my 18-month-old and it fits him perfectly.

The build quality is absolutely top-notch. I had no issues inflating the floatie with the included hand pump and plopping my baby into it. It’s made of sturdy material that’s amazingly soft to the touch. The product I received had no rough seams or edges that could possibly hurt the baby’s skin.

However, the shoulder straps do seem to be a little rough, but this is something I can live with. My biggest worry while buying a floatie was that it would flip over but thanks to its extra-wide sides and raised front, there has been no such issue so far.

Having said that, I would still strongly recommend keeping an eye on the little fellow while they are in the water because no floating device is 100% fail-safe. The only real issue with the floatie is that there’s no dedicated leg strap to prevent the baby from sliding out the bottom.

Thankfully, as many users suggested, you can put the shoulder strap down and run it between the legs. Problem solved! I also kind of wish the floatie came with a sunshade, which is why I limit its usage to shaded swimming pools and bathtubs.

  • The part that touches the skin of the baby is made of ultra-soft and cushy material.
  • Ideal for training little ones to kick their feet and move arms in the water.
  • No rough seams or edges.
  • Easy to inflate, deflate, and carry around, comes with a hand pump.
  • Helps to keep the baby in a natural swimming position.
  • No leg straps but you can easily run the shoulder strap between the legs to prevent the baby from sliding out the bottom.

2. LAYCOL Baby Swimming Float

LAYCOL Baby Swimming Float

The market is flooded with cute, colorful floaties but very few of them actually get the job done. Laycol is one of the most stable floats I have come across during my research. It significantly minimizes the risk of flipping over by evenly distributing the baby’s weight over a wide area.

Its 5-point strap system keeps the baby secure in the floatie and prevents slipping from the bottom. The straps are padded, which goes really gentle on the bare skin.

For an 18-month-old, I would recommend the X-large size. I prefer it to be slightly on the looser side, leaving the baby some room to grow in it. I can ensure a snug fit by simply tightening or loosening the strap as needed.

While I was able to strap the baby in on my own, having another set of hands can definitely make it a lot faster. What I love the most about this model is that it allows the baby to seamlessly switch from backstroke to breaststroke position – making it a handy aid for learning strokes easily.

For added comfort and safety, the floatie is equipped with extra cushioning on the sides that neatly wrap around the baby’s belly. The PVC material feels capable of standing the test of time.

Brownie points for the UPF50+ shade. Excellent sun coverage, although I wish it was adjustable. You may initially struggle to put it on or keep it in place for all-around protection.

  • The straps are padded and easily adjustable.
  • Extra cushioning on the sides for extra comfort and safety.
  • Travel-friendly design.
  • Allows putting the baby in both backstroke and breaststroke positions.
  • Made of leak-proof, durable material.
  • Easy to blow up with the included hand pump.
  • It takes a while to put on and adjust the canopy.
  • Won’t recommend it for chunky, heavy babies as they can flip it over if they really try.

3. Mambobaby Non-Inflatable Baby Float

Mambobaby Newest Non Inflatable Baby Float

As you might know, a lot of public pools have banned inflatable flotation devices due to the risk of overturning and deflating. With Mambobaby, you don’t have to worry about any of these.

Mambobaby is one of the most recent discoveries and I can say this with confidence that the quality of the floatie makes it worth every penny. It’s a non-inflatable floatie made of 3 layers of material for ultimate protection against tip-over and air leakage.

The cover is ultra-soft to the touch and doesn’t get hot easily, unlike PVC material. Babies are going to love it. The inside is loaded with tiny pearl foam which ensures excellent buoyancy and makes it nearly impossible for air to leak.

The integrated pillow adds a touch of luxury and the design allows you to place the baby on their back or belly. Mambobaby has done an excellent job with the harness system. There are plenty of clamps and straps, including crotch straps to prevent the baby from falling out.

On the downside, securing a wiggly, giggly, squirmy toddler in the floatie is one heck of a task for one person. It’s definitely a two-person job.

  • Non-inflatable, hence, zero risk of deflating.
  • Terrific buoyancy, thanks to the pearl foams inside the floatie.
  • Ultra-soft and smooth, skin-friendly cover.
  • Has a cute little integrated pillow.
  • Allows the baby to be placed on the back or belly.
  • Crotch strap included.
  • Placing the baby in the floatie is a two-person job.

4. FindUWill Store Inflatable Baby Pool Float

FindUWill Store Inflatable Baby Pool Float

The next entry on our roundup of the best pool floats for 18-month-olds would be a decent option to look into if you are on a budget. It’s designed like a car with a faux steering wheel and as someone who has a weird obsession with toys, I would hop on it if I could.

Since there are no straps in this floatie, the toddler can grab onto the steering wheel for balance, so it’s not there just for show.

The wheel can a little too high for some toddlers. They might have to lean back just a bit for better control. Even without the straps, the floatie is as secure as it can be.

The buoyancy is great and the resting area is wide enough to let the baby lie on their back and relax while kicking their cute little feet in the water. It also includes a canopy to keep harmful UV rays and heat out. I wish the canopy was more adjustable, though.

More often than not, you might have to hold it down to protect the neck area from the sun. Moreover, the top part of the device doesn’t hold the air for more than a day, which is not a huge deal-breaker for me, considering the quality I’m getting at this price point.

  • Comes with a cool steering wheel and 4 duck toys to keep the tots entertained.
  • Convenient to use as there are no belts to fasten and unbuckle.
  • Great buoyancy and soft material.
  • Affordable.
  • The package includes a waterproof carry bag and a large canopy.
  • The canopy needs to be more adjustable.


5. iGeeKid Baby Inflatable Pool Float

iGeeKid Baby Inflatable Pool Float

Concluding this list of the best floaties for 18-month-olds with another adorable car-shaped floatie (I figure I’m obsessed with them). Priced just as competitively as the FindUWill, it’s the most spacious floaties on this list so far, making it a great choice for large toddlers.

However, I feel the leg holes could have been a little bigger. If your muffin has chunky legs, it can be a little tight on the thighs but not to the point of causing major discomfort. It’s made of thick PVC material which is soft against sensitive baby skin and doesn’t fade easily.

The placement of the canopy is genius in this product, something I can hardly say for many floaties twice its price. It’s not removable, which doesn’t bother me. It blocks a good amount of light and heat, keeping the baby cool and comfy in scorching weather.

The only real issue with the product is it’s a bit difficult to inflate, especially the canopy. Perhaps it’s because there’s a large surface area to inflate.

  • High-quality, non-removable sunshade provides all-around protection.[i2pc show_title="false" title="Pros & Cons" show_button="true" pros_title="Pros" cons_title="Cons" link_text="Check Latest Price" link="" ][i2pros]High-quality, non-removable sunshade provides all-around protection.
  • Has enough area for the tots to sit or lie down comfortably.
  • Deflates and folds away in an instant for easy storage and traveling.
  • Cute and attractive car-shaped design with steering wheel and horn.
  • The canopy takes a while to fully inflate.
  • Doesn’t hold the air for long.

How to Choose the Safest Floatie for an 18-month-old

Considering babies can drown even in 1 to 2 inches of water, it’s not easy for parents to throw their babies in the water and teach them to float to the surface, unaided. But as parents, we owe it to them, no matter how scary it seems. 

Having a swimming aid definitely helps toddlers ease into the pool. Not to mention kids absolutely love chilling in the water, just like most adults. 

That said, not all floaties are created equal. It’s very much possible for air-filled floaties to deflate or flip over, putting the kids at the risk of drowning. Therefore, it’s extremely important to thoroughly examine the build quality and safety features of the floatie before you take it to the beach or pool. 

Below is a detailed breakdown of what to expect when shopping for the best floating device for 18-month-old:

Safety Features

Floaties aren’t 100% fail-safe. No matter how smart the design is, there will always be a risk of tipping over. Therefore, always be extra vigilant when your baby is in the water. 

Having said that, floaties equipped with a puncture-proof material, wide anti-slip design, and high-quality straps are significantly safer than generic floatation devices. 

Lastly, do not forget to check the age and weight limit of the floatie as oversized/undersized floatie will do more harm than good. 

Placement Type

Floaties come in different sizes and shapes and each has its benefits. Cuff floaties, the ones tied around the arms, are the simplest type of floaties and are best suited for older kids as they allow better mobility.

Adjustable, lifeguard-type floaties that go around the neck and chest and have straps are considered the best floaties for 18-month-olds. These floaties allow the toddlers to freely move their feet and arms in the water. 

Some adjustable models only allow the legs to move while keeping the rest of the body float calmly. Most parents prefer this type of floaties due to the great sense of security they provide. 


The color of a flotation device doesn’t directly impact the usability and safety of a floatie. However, vivid and fluorescent colors provide better visibility, so you won’t lose sight of the baby on a crowded beach.


Floaties with a built-in canopy or UV-blocking shade cover will help you minimize sun exposure. Summer parties, lake, and beach trips can be a lot more fun if your toddler doesn’t have to deal with sunburn or rashes. 

Ease of Use

Floaties that can be inflated, deflated, folded, and tucked into the trunk of your car on the fly are a blessing. Also, double-check the strap system, make sure you can buckle and unbuckle them easily before placing your baby with it in the water.

In Conclusion

Letting an 18-month-old splash around in the pool on their own might seem scary at first. But trust me, as long as you keep a close eye on them and secure them with a floaty, they are going to be safe and have a lot of fun. 

There are tons of pool floats for infants in the market that promise the moon but most of them deliver nothing. That’s why I spent countless hours researching, comparing, and contrasting countless products to come up with the list of the 5 best floaties for 18-month-olds

Hope it helps you find exactly what you are looking for. That’s all for today. Thanks for reading. 

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.