Infant Life Jackets: 8 Best Baby Life Jackets
A baby life jacket is the handy, life-saving device that can give you extra peace of mind. There are plenty of baby life jackets on the market, and each one offers different features for your baby.
This article will review eight of the best infant life jackets to help you choose one that is right for your child.
The (AAP) American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies wear life jackets if they’re near water (for example, a lake, an ocean, or a river), even if they aren’t going to be in it. Open waters can be a dangerous place, especially for children who cannot swim. The (CDC) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that more than two children younger than 15 years drown each day. WHO also reported that the highest accidental drowning rate happens with children from age 1 to 4.
You can keep your infant safe while canoeing, sailing, or boating by choosing the right baby life jacket. While shopping for a baby life jacket, make sure you pay attention to the following features.
What Is A Life Jacket?
Also called ski vests or life vests, a life jacket is a PFD (Personal Flotation Device) used to save lives in the water. It is not a swimming aid. Instead, it helps keep you afloat and alive when you participate in water activities or accidentally enter the water.
Just as it intends to protect an adult participating in water activity, it is also essential for babies and toddlers to support and hold their heads up.
Ideally, a jacket will make the wearer turn onto their back to prevent water from getting in their faces. Despite this feature, a life vest does not and should never replace adult supervision. If your child is near or in the water, stay within arms’ reach of them at all times.
Although the purpose might seem simple, the style, fit, and method of use of your life jacket can all affect whether it accomplishes its intended purpose.
Is a Baby Life Jacket Necessary for Your Baby?
A major cause of accidental death worldwide is drowning. Children aged 1-4 are most likely to drown, followed by children aged 5-9.
Therefore, the best protection against drowning for your child is to wear a life jacket while in or around the water and to have adequate adult supervision.
Whether your child is a proficient swimmer or not, he or she should always wear a life jacket in a pool or boat. A life jacket can prevent a child from slipping under the water if they become fatigued without you noticing.
Should an emergency need arise, where you or your child loses consciousness while boating, a good baby float can keep them safely afloat – and even turn them face-up depending on how the jacket is designed – until help arrives. As well as protecting your child, it is the law.
Lastly, life jackets provide your child with a safe means to enjoy all the fun and excitement of the water.
It’s vital that your child loves water and doesn’t fear it as he or she grows and becomes able to swim. Children who wear a life jacket in their early years will be safer in the water and have a better chance of extending their horizons.
What Kind of Life Jacket for an Infant?
Life jackets are available in different kinds, and this can be daunting for parents looking to buy an infant life jacket for their babies. Before purchasing a baby life jacket, find out the different types of life jackets available on the market and the one most suitable for your infant.
The Type I life jackets are used for offshore ocean purposes, where the water is likely unpredictable and rough. Although they offer good flotation, they’re bulky and uncomfortable. Therefore, the Type I jackets are not suitable as a baby life jacket. Plus, you can’t even find them for your infant.
You’re most likely to find this type of life jacket when purchasing one for your child. The Type II adult and infant life jacket are primarily used in calmer water for boating or fishing. These life jackets are less buoyant and less bulky, providing more comfortable than Type I. However, they would not perform well in rough waters.
The Type III life jackets are less buoyant than Type II. They are best suited for well-supervised water activities where a rescue is immediate. Type III doesn’t flip the wearer over when they fall into the water. The sizes for children are widely available.
Type IV life jackets are tossable devices (like life rings or life preservers) thrown into the water to save a person in trouble. Children should not use these devices since they need to tread water and swim before using the life rings.
They are specially designed to perform particular tasks in the water. You are not likely to buy a Type V if you are shopping for a baby life jacket casually.
What Is The Best Infant Life Jacket?
U.S. Coast Guard Approved
The life jackets you choose should have an indicator showing whether they are U.S. Coast Guard approved and the approval conditions (personal watercraft, recreational watercraft, commercial use, etc.). You will find the approval seal printed on the jacket.
Just so you know, the Type II life jacket is the best for your baby or toddler.
The U.S. Coast Guard recommends using Type II baby life jackets for all infants since they can turn their heads from being face-down in the water into a position that allows them to breathe. This infant life jacket offers more head and floats support.
On the flip side, the Type III baby life jacket suits children who can swim well and stay above water.
Life Jacket That Fits Your Baby’s Weight
A quality baby life jacket comes with weight limits printed in its interior. Pick a life jacket that in sync with your child’s current body weight.
Generally, infant life jackets are made for babies that weigh less than 33 pounds, says the U.S. Coast Guard. However, some baby life jackets have specific weight ranges depending on the manufacturer.
Thus, you should always check the label on your child’s life jacket before buying it.
Buying one for a larger child in the hopes that you can use it for longer is not a good idea. To ensure your child’s safety, the jacket must meet their immediate needs.
Grab straps are a great safety feature if you plan to go boating. You can grab its handle with ease so that you can easily pull them back into the boat if the child falls into the water. Consider life jackets with an attached strap between the legs. The vest will not ride up this way.
If you plan to take your child for boating or on the water, you will need good visibility for quick recovery in an emergency. Choose jackets with bright colours that contrast with the green or blue water. Colours such as orange, yellow, and red are good choices. Don’t buy baby life jackets in gray or blue colours.
It Guarantees Security
Make sure the life jacket of your choice is safe. Some include crotch straps that run between the legs to prevent the baby life jacket from slipping over your child’s head.
By picking up your child from the jacket’s shoulders, you can test its security even if it doesn’t have a strap. The jacket must not go up above their ears for it to be snug enough. Find a neck collar that gives your child some extra head support.
The wrong size of the baby life jacket could cause your infant to sink. Before you take your child near the water, always let him try the vest on.
Put the life jacket on him, and then lift the shoulders of the jacket. If your baby’s chin and ears slip through the neck hole, the infant life jacket might be too big.
In contrast, it might be too small if you find it challenging to tie, zip up, or buckle the baby life jacket straps.
Don’t forget that a life jacket won’t replace adult supervision. Whenever children are around water, caregivers need to pay attention without being distracted.
Where to Buy an Infant Life Jacket?
Is online shopping your thing? Then you can buy an infant life jacket in online stores like Amazon, eBay, Esty, Walmart, Aliexpress, among others. For more assessment and test-running, you can also get the baby life jacket in baby item shops, supermarkets and malls.
How to Wear an Infant Life Jacket?
Check Baby Life Jacket for the Right Size
Before you pick a baby life jacket, check its interior to ensure your baby is wearing the right size and weight. Also, look inside the jacket to see if it is U.S. Coast Guard approved.
Help Your Little with the Baby Life Jacket
Check for any wear and tear, missing or damaged buckles or straps. These things can pose a danger to your child while on the water. However, if the baby infant jacket is in good condition, help your kid wear his vest.
Buckle All Straps and Zip Up Any Zippers
To ensure maximum safety, ensure that you buckle all the straps, including the crotch strap, zip up every area with zips.
Check for Safety
After carrying out the above steps, have your child raise his arms over his head and gently raise him by the top of the baby life jacket, arms opening. If the infant life jacket moves up above his ears, it is oversize. And if the zippers and straps don’t close, the infant life jacket is too small.
Our U.S. Coast Guard Approved Top Baby Life Jacket Picks
Premium/Top picks: Salus Bijoux Baby Vest (9-25 lbs) – $112.95
Best Classic and Long-Lasting Infant Life Jacket: West Marine Runabout Baby Life Jacket (0 to 50lbs) – $89.00
Best Head and Neck Support: Stohlquist Toddler Life Jacket (Up to 30 lbs) – $58.62
The Best Adjustable Life Jacket: Airhead Gnar NeoLite Flex Infant Life Vest (Up to 30 lbs) – $50.90
Best Affordable: Stearns Type II Infant Life Jacket (Up to 30 lbs) – $34.69
CWB Connelly Classic Infant Girl Neoprene Life Vest (Up to 30 lbs) – $39.99
Best Budget-Friendly: Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe Vest (Up to 30 lbs) – $29.68
Best Premium Vest for Hot Days- Salus Bijoux Baby Vest
It is safe to say that Salus Bijoux Baby Vest is one of the best baby life jackets on the market and has won the (CASB) Canadian Safe Boating Award for Best New Safety Product.
Suitable for babies around 9 to 25 pounds, the Salus Bijoux Baby Vest is less bulky and comfortable to use even in hot weather.
This infant life jacket has a webbing harness system and an adjustable mesh that promotes air circulation and prevents heavy plastic fabrics from touching the skin.
With chest size 12 to 18 inches, the Salus baby life jacket has a mesh back and three-piece collar design with extra flotation, which enables your child to rest comfortably and securely on a blanket.
- It has additional flotation that keeps your baby’s head comfortable and secure.
- Webbing harness and mesh and keeps your baby cool on a hot day.
- Some parents may need some time to accurately get the mesh harness
- It is pricy
- Although recognized by the Canadian Safe Boating Council, it is not U.S. Coast Guard-approved since it weighs less than 30 pounds.
Best Classic and Long-lasting- West Marine Runabout Life Jacket
West Marine’s Runabout Life Jacket fits anyone less than 50 pounds. This weight expansion allows you to use it for much longer than most infant vests, which fit up to 30 pounds. It won’t be necessary to replace the life jacket if you’re usually only on the water once every few seasons. Although it has a looser fit, it is still equipped with chest and crotch straps in case of an emergency. It features bright-coloured straps to increase visibility.
If you plan on sailing or fishing, you should use this baby life jacket. One of the things that differentiate this product from others is its lightweight polyethylene foam that offers superior buoyancy and a comfortable fit. Moreover, it has a 210 denier nylon shell that allows it to dry extremely quickly.
- It has adjustable belts to keep your baby n place in the infant life jacket
- Large armholes to promote a wide range of motion
- It helps to turn babies face up in the water with its headrest feature
- Grows with your baby
- Smaller babies may find it a bit bulky
Best Head and Neck Support- Stohlquist Toddler Life Jacket
A Stohlquist Infant life jacket provides flotation for babies weighing up to 30 pounds. It features a nylon shell, a front zipper, an adjustable crotch strap, and a backup buckle that secures the waist of this type II life vest.
In addition to its flotation capabilities, the Stohlquist is made of a durable double collar. Baby will float safely with mouth and nose well clear of the surface since the device offers an excellent hold for the neck and head.
It also sturdy grabbers loop behind the collar for easy retrieval of a bobbing baby.
Moreover, the Stohlquist baby life jacket has a V-neck opening for easy breathing and a comfortable fit.
Stohlquist offers three colour options for its infant size life jacket, almost all of which have contrast trim. It is preferable to choose yellow or red ones.
- It provides maximum floatation for infants, turning them to a face-up and more upright position.
- Available in three different colour mixes
- It features a buckle and strap for a snug fit.
- The grab strap is sturdy and easy to hold.
- The zipper can rub on the baby’s neck or face.
Best Adjustable Baby Life Jacket- Airhead Gnar Neolite Infant Life Vest
Constructed with Kwik-Dry NeoLite, Airhead’s Infant life vest also has a U.S. Coast Guard approval for infants Type II PFD. It can comfortably support babies weighing up to 30 pounds.
This Airhead infant life jacket has a closed-sided design, a large collar, a front zipper closure, adjustable waist and crotch straps. It also features quick-release buckles for added security.
The Airhead life vest is lightweight, breathable, and flexible. It is made from a quick-drying material that’s intended to keep your baby comfortable in or out of the water.
For your convenience, we advise that you use the size chart as the Airhead Neolite life jackets may feel snug or run a bit small.
This baby life jacket comes with a large collar that doubles as a headrest to keep the baby safe and comfortable when floating in the water. A wide, sturdy grab handle is also included on the back of the collar.
- Easy to clean
- It has adjustable straps to tailor the fit.
- It’s brightly coloured, so you’ll have no trouble spotting your child.
- Posses a grab strap for a quick rescue.
- It is not machine washable
- You can encounter sizing issues
Best Affordable Baby Life Jacket- Stearns Type II Infant Life Vest
Stearns is popular for quality which can be seen in this traditional-style life vest for infants under 30 pounds. Starting with a durable nylon shell and P.E. floatation foam, this baby life jacket features a secure open-sided vest design and one-inch webbed straps.
You can fully adjust the chest belt and leg strap to fit your baby’s size. And the rescue grab handle on the collar allows you to easily bring out your baby from the water.
Once your infant has outgrown their infant size, they can still use the same style of vest once they reach the next weight range.
In smaller infants, this vest and others may prove too bulky after adjustment, although a properly adjusted vest after zipping it up may reduce how far it rides up.
- Super affordable
- Sturdy design
- It will flip your infants onto their backs
- It is bright-coloured
- The neck opening is a little small.
- It can be a bit bulky, especially for tiny babies
Best Budget-Friendly Life Vest- Full Throttle Baby Life Jacket
The Full Throttle infant life jacket is a Type II PFD for babies up to 30 pounds. This U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket has a buckle opening at the collar that makes it much easier to wear than most other baby life vests.
Also, the vest has an elasticized leg strap that offers comfort and prevents it from riding up in the water.
Our favourite part about the collar is the extra protection and support it provides for your head. For a secure, custom fit, the belt and shoulder strap encircle the waist. In case of emergency, the design also features a grab-and-go strap.
This baby-safe flotation vest comes in two colours- orange and pink. The Full Throttle baby life jacket is also a bit bulkier than some PFDs, but most users say it is worth the trade-off for their peace of mind. One of the most affordable baby life vests on the market, the Full Throttle Infant Vest is a great choice on a budget.
- Super floatable
- Convenient for smaller babies
- It helps to turn babies face up in the water
- Wider head and the rest feature
- It is a little bulkier than most infant life jackets
- It can stay in some baby’s mouth
CWB Connelly Classic Neoprene Infant Girl Life Jacket
Your youngest family member needs a vest that fits properly. Neoprene for children and youth are now available with the trendy V-back flex panel design adjusted to suit children of all sizes. Additionally, these vests come with Glideskin side panels that wick away moisture and sublimated artwork for a soft finish.
They also feature a center zip, adjustable crotch straps, straps with side release buckles, and head pillow support with grab straps.
These Neoprene life jackets, most importantly, have the U. S. Coast Guard approval for Type III and Type II Infants’ personal flotation devices for all-around use. The infant life jacket can hold babies weighing up to 30 pounds.
- It is designed specifically for female babies
- Neck support and an adjustable crotch strap
- You will need to buy another baby life jacket for a male child.
Liquid Force Fury Infant Life Jacket
The Liquid Force baby life jacket is perfect for all recreational water activities. It has adjustable straps, head support, wide arms and neck openings to provide comfort and security. Babies that weigh up to 30 pounds can securely use this infant life jacket. You will still need to keep an eye on your baby while he is on the water to prevent an accident.
- It is affordable
- Any baby gender can use it
- It has a grab strap in case of an accident
- You might want to check for it in offline water safety stores and run a self-test on it
When shopping for a baby life jacket, keep your eyes fixed on the essential needs or features for your child’s safety.
Don’t buy an infant life jacket based on looks and flashy designs because they will not guarantee accident-free fun on the water. Also may not provide the features to easily save your child in the case of an emergency.
Always check for product reviews (via blogs, e-commerce product websites, or videos). Also, knowing the right baby life jacket size to buy for your child really matters to prevent the case of an oversize or undersize fit.
If you are also looking for some other ways to allow your baby to have fun while staying safe, checkout our baby gates review blog post.
We hope you can get one of our recommended products and give us feedback!