Keep Little One Safe With The Best Infant Life Jackets (2018 Guide)
I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t wait to get my little guy in the water.
There are a number of life jackets for kids and toddlers to wear, but actually choosing the right one is a pretty stressful task that I wasn't really ready for.
I didn’t know what to look for in a great infant life jacket, so I spent some time reading up on them, as well as checking out reviews from other parents who have already tested some out.
So before you put your little one in the water, be sure you have something super to slip on them so they stay safe in the surf!
The Different Types Of Infant Life Jackets
I was surprised to learn that there are actually three main types of life jackets that your infant and toddler can wear. Here's a quick rundown of each of them.
Offshore Life Jackets
Offshore life jackets are best used when riding on boats over rough seas. Or, if you are taking your toddler into the ocean, they are also your go-to device.
They can be worn pretty much in any kind of water where a quick rescue is unlikely. This is because they are designed to turn someone unconscious face up, reducing the risk of drowning.
They are extremely buoyant, but also not comfortable to wear for a long time because they are so bulky. But, they are highly effective.
Near Shore Life Jackets
Near shore life jackets are best used when going in calm water or on boating activities where there is a good chance of a quick rescue.
They too will usually turn someone who is unconscious face up. But, the jacket is much less bulky than an offshore one.
Flotation devices are best for calm waters only. So, think pools and lakes.
They are very comfortable to wear and are also lightweight. Your child can also wear them for a long period of time.
The only downfall is that they will not turn an unconscious person face up, nor are they to be worn on a boat or in the rough ocean.
Children should always be closely supervised when wearing a floatation aid.
Important Features to Consider
Best Infant Life Jackets
The Stohlquist Infant Life Jacket (click here to check the price on Amazon) is my top recommendation and one that I use for both my son and daughter.
I love it for a number of reasons.
First, my son has never complained when wearing it! (That's always a big plus).
Obviously any life jacket is not going to feel amazing to wear, but he never tried to pull it off when wearing it or had anything negative to say.
It is designed to turn a child face up, which is important. It also has dual support collars to cradle and support the head.
I especially liked that it had front zippers and the crotch straps were adjustable, so the device always stayed in place. It also had a grab loop for extra safety purposes.
It is USCG certified and its V-neck shape stayed out of his face.
All in all, it’s a great life jacket that is highly recommended.
The Stearns Infant Boat Jacket (click here to check the price on Amazon) is another option that comes highly-recommended from a lot of moms.
As the name indicates, this is a great vest for your child to wear if you are taking them out on a boat.
It flips children over onto their back, so it’s safe and effective.
I was impressed that it was able to fit a baby as small as eight pounds!
This Stearns life jacket comes in a variety of colors and also has a zip front feature, so slipping it on is a breeze.
According to reviews, this isn’t the most comfortable vest around, but it did receive a lot of praise about its safety and effectiveness.
It’s made out of nylon and it has a grab strap to rescue your little one in case of an emergency.
It also has a float above the neck design, so your child’s head will remain above the water in case they fall in.
I also like the O’Neil’s Infant Waterski Vest (click here to check the price on Amazon) because it’s known to fit well on younger children.
It has all the bells and whistles when it comes to picking out a great life jacket. It is USCD approved, and there is a crotch strap and a rescue grab.
Plus, it can be worn when riding on a boat because it will flip your child over onto their back if they happen to fall into the water.
The jacket is said to be somewhat comfortable because it is less bulky than the standard vest. It has an inflated neck support feature, so your child’s head will remain above the water.
The vest is best suited for children who are 30 pounds or less, and it has received numerous positive ratings from moms who have used it.
The only criticism it received is that it can be difficult to sit upright in when riding on a boat, but overall, it’s a good vest for a great price.
Yes, life jackets can be bulky and somewhat uncomfortable for kids to wear (not to mention unfashionable).
But, it is so important to remember that they save lives over anything else.
Remember, drowning is the second leading cause of death for kiddos aged one to four.
The life jackets I’ve recommended are sure to keep your loves safe while they develop a love for the water.