Best life jackets for toddlers in pool: Best Life Jackets for Toddlers (USCG-Approved, Type II, Up to 30lbs)

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Best Life Jackets for Toddlers (USCG-Approved, Type II, Up to 30lbs)

If you toddler is doing any activity near open water, they need a life jacket.  Period.  Unfortunately, a lot of water activity operators (think kayak or canoe rentals) don’t have toddler-sized life jackets: you’ll have to bring your own.

Finding a life jacket for toddlers can be tricky and confusing.  There actually aren’t that many options out there.  And the safest options are usually the least comfortable.

Here’s what you need to know about choosing a good toddler-sized life jacket, including info about sizing and safety ratings.

 

Best Life Jackets for Toddlers

All of these toddler life jackets are US Coast Guard approved for babies and toddlers up to 30lbs. They are all also Type II (which means they will help turn a child onto their back in the water).

 

1. Stohlquist Infant Life Jacket  

Features:
  • Type: II
  • Material: Nylon
  • Closure: Zipper, 1 front buckle, 1 back strap, crotch strap
  • Get It Here

This gets our pick as best infant life jacket for a few reasons. For starters, it is actually a Type II infant life jacket.  (Note that the child size is type III). It will help turn a child on their back. It is also rated for Boating, Water Skiing, Fishing, Kayaking, Rafting.

The design of the life jacket is also really nice. It isn’t nearly as bulky as other life jackets for infants and toddlers (so your kid is less likely to complain about wearing it).  There are large arm holes so for movement and even swimming. The double neck rest is comfortable and there are lots of straps for getting the perfect fit.  Of course, all of these nice features do mean the life jacket costs more.

Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Double collar
  • Easy on/off
  • Open neck and large arm holes for good mobility
Cons
  • Pricier option

 

2. O’Neill Infant Superlite Life Jacket

Here’s a more affordable Type II toddler life jacket.  The sizing runs a bit small (chest size up to 24 inches), so it’s best for skinny toddlers.    It’s one of the more comfortable life jackets you’ll find for toddlers since the head rest doesn’t push up against their head.  However, it’s a bit bulky and limits mobility.

Features:
  • Type: II
  • Material: Nylon
  • Closure: Zipper, 2 front buckles, crotch strap
  • Get It Here
Pros
  • Thinner and more comfortable design
  • Headrest doesn’t push on head
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Two straps
  • Size runs small
  • Bulky
  • Poor mobility

 

3. Stearns Infant Classic Series Vest

Features:
  • Type: II
  • Material: Nylon
  • Closure: Zipper, front buckle, crotch strap
  • Get It Here

This is one of the most affordable infant life jackets you’ll find while still being a very good quality.   The downside is that it’s really bulky and definitely not the most comfortable for your toddler to wear. Note that the Amazon description on Stearns infant life vests is incorrect: they should all be listed as Type II vests

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • Large handle for quickly grabbing kids
  • Low-cut arm holes improves comfort
Cons
  • Very bulky and constructing
  • Tight around the neck

 

4. Stearns Infant Puddle Jumper Hydroprene Life Jacket

Features:
  • Type: II
  • Material: neoprene
  • Closure: Back zipper, 1 front buckle and two crotch straps
  • Get It Here

Here’s another toddler life jacket by Stearns.  It costs a bit more than the Classic version but is much more comfortable. The sides are made out of a soft, flexible material so your toddler has lots of mobility.  The material also means this life jacket will dry faster. It comes in several different cute colors.

Note that this life jacket is NOT rated for boating (just near shore and calm water, so general floatation).  Another downside is that it is slightly annoying to put on since the zipper is in the back and the strap off to the side.

Pros:
  • Soft and comfortable hydroprene material
  • Head flotation doesn’t push on child’s head
  • Cute designs
  • Double crotch strap for comfort
Cons:
  • Not for boating
  • Tight around the neck
  • Fits weird on taller toddlers

 

5. Airhead Treasure Infant Life Jacket

Features:
  • Type: II
  • Material: Polyester
  • Closure: Zipper, front buckle, crotch strap
  • Get It Here 

This infant-size life jacket is ultra cute, Type II and a good price.  The downsides are that it is really bulky on babies and toddlers.   The head flotation doesn’t lie back well, so it ends up pushing on your child’s head.  There also aren’t many straps, so it’s hard to get a good fit.  I would really only recommend it for older toddlers who are still under 30lbs.

Pros:
  • Durable construction
  • Cute designs
Cons:
  • Really bulky
  • Limits mobility
  • Not many straps for adjusting fit

 

Types of Life Jackets

Life jackets are broken down into types based on their buoyancy and turning performance (more on that later). All life jackets for children under 30lbs are either Type II or Type III.

 

Type I: Offshore Life Jackets

Type 1 life jackets are also known as offshore life jackets, and they are designed to provide the most buoyancy and the best turning performance of any life jacket type. These jackets are typically used in open, rough, or remote waters, and they are designed to turn an unconscious person face-up in the water and keep them afloat. Type 1 life jackets are the most buoyant type and can provide up to 22 pounds of buoyancy.\

Unfortunately, Type I life jackets do not come in infant (under 30lb) sizes! There are some child-sized Type I life jackets, but even these are hard to find.

 

Type II: Near-Shore Buoyancy Vests

Type 2 life jackets are also known as near-shore buoyancy vests. These jackets are designed for use in calm or inland water where there is a good chance of rescue. Type 2 life jackets provide less buoyancy than Type 1 jackets, and they are designed to turn most wearers face-up in the water. Type 2 jackets typically provide between 15.5 and 19 pounds of buoyancy.

 

Type III: Flotation Aids or Buoyancy Vests

Type 3 life jackets are also known as flotation aids or buoyancy vests. These jackets are designed for use in calm water, where rescue is likely to be quick. Type 3 life jackets provide the least amount of buoyancy of any life jacket type and are designed to be comfortable and allow freedom of movement for activities such as water skiing, kayaking, or fishing. Type 3 jackets typically provide between 15.5 and 19 pounds of buoyancy.

 

Is It Okay for a Toddler to Wear a Type III Life Jacket?

Type III life jackets are generally only recommended for children who are swimmers.  Since most toddlers aren’t good swimmers, that means they should wear a Type II life jacket.

However, Type III life jackets are a generally lot more comfortable to wear because they aren’t as bulky.  If your child isn’t going on open water, you might consider a Type III life jacket instead.   I’m definitely not going to be the one to recommend loosening safety requirements for toddlers on water though!

 

Other Things to Consider When Choosing a Toddler Life Jacket

Buoyancy Rating

The bold-faced number on a life jacket is the buoyance rating.  It’s a measurement of the pounds of gravitational force the life jacket resists. Simply put, the higher the number, the greater the floatation.

Most the toddler life jackets on the market today in the United States are Level 70 life jackets.

 

Turning Performance

The curved arrow indicates the turning ability of the life jacket. Turning ability is whether or not a life jacket is capable or designed to turn an unconscious person face up, unassisted.

A life jacket with the curved arrow and slash through it will not turn a person right side up. If there is no slash, it will turn most wearers face up.

All Type II life jackets have turning performance.  Some Type I life jackets have turning performance. No Type III life jackets have turning performance.

 

Warnings and Exclusions

The next thing you’ll notice are warnings and exclusions. These are icons which indicate which types of activities and waters the life jacket is suitable for, such as towed sports or boating.

 

It Must Be US Coast Guard Approved!!!

The United States Coast Guard sets safety standards for all types of personal flotation devices (PFDs). When a life jacket is Coast Guard approved, it means that it has been tested and meets these safety standards for buoyancy, performance, and construction.

For a toddler life jacket, being Coast Guard approved is particularly important because young children are more vulnerable in the water and require extra protection to stay safe. A properly fitting Coast Guard approved life jacket can help keep a toddler afloat in the water, even if they are unable to swim or become unconscious.

In addition, many states and localities require that children wear Coast Guard approved life jackets when participating in water activities.

 

Comfort and Mobility

Open-sided life vests provide more room for movement, while close-sided vests offer a tighter fit. The neck collar is also important, and there are various designs available, including segmented collars for added comfort.

 

Other Features of Toddler Life Jackets

These features are not optional for toddler life jackets:

  • Padded head supportto help keep the child’s head above water.
  • Grab handleto assist retrieving the child out of the water.
  • Crotch strap to help keep the PFD from riding up.
  • Bright colors: This improves visibility so it’s easier to spot and rescue your child

 

Sizing a Toddler’s Life Jacket Fits

Do NOT buy a life jacket that your child will “grow into”. Buy one that fits their size and weight right NOW.

Kids’ life jackets are sized according to weight, not chest size (adult life jackets are sized by chest circumference).

  • Infant/Toddler: 8-30 lbs
  • Child: 30-50 lbs
  • Youth: 50-90 lbs

Unfortunately, these weight ranges can make it tricky to get a life jacket for toddlers which are a bit heavier.  For example, if your toddler is over 30lbs but still fairly short, the “child” life jackets won’t fit well.  You’ll need to look for life jackets which are smaller (not as bulky) but still have the appropriate weight rating.

Note: The more straps a PFD has, the more adjustments can be made for sizing

 

Testing Life Jacket Fit

  • When lifting the child up by the handle or shoulders of the PFD, the child should stay secure within the PFD.
  • It should have a secure, snug If it’s too tight, it won’t provide sufficient flotation (you’ll need to move up a size).
  • A fastened life jacket or vest should never rise above the face when a child is in the water.
  • Make sure the adjustable straps are secure and the crotch strap is tight enough to prevent the life jacket from riding up.
  • If the life jacket rides up, it’s likely too large (go down a size).

 

Image credits: “IMG_0031” (CC BY 2.0) by abbybatchelder

Sources: https://www.dco.uscg.mil/CG-ENG-4/PFDSel/, https://www.reddit.com/r/Parenting/comments/v709s6/recommendations_for_a_child_life_jacket/,

Best Life Jackets for Kids (Between 30

Growing children are adventurous and most of them love water, making activities like sailing, canoeing or even just scrambling on rocks great summertime family activities.

Of course, that makes quality safety gear even more essential. Any child in or near the water need a good kids life jacket, so it has to be designed according to their needs.

When searching for the best life jackets for kids, it’s important to find the sweet spot between good head support and a comfortable fit so that your child can enjoy themselves — all while staying safe in the water.

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up our favorite best kids life jackets for children between 30 to 50 pounds. They are all rated USCG Type 3, meaning they are safe for almost all water activities (we’d recommend Type 2 for offshore boating or extra peace of mind). Baby life jackets and toddler life jackets have different considerations and requirements, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with that information instead.

Now let’s dive in.

Table of Contents

Top Kids Life Jackets (30-50 lbs)

Product USCG Type Material Colors
Stohlquist Kids Type III Nylon 9
Stearns Heads-Up Type II Nylon 1
O’Neill Child Reactor Type III Neoprene 3
Stearns Child Hydroprene Type III Neoprene 2
O’Neill Child Superlite Type III Nylon 3
Full Throttle Water Buddies Type III Nylon 5
Stearns Child Classic Type III Nylon 2
TRC Recreation Super Soft Type III Foam 5
SwimWays Sea Squirts Type III Nylon 1

Child Life Jackets For Kids (30-50 lbs) Reviews

Stohlquist Life Vest For Kids

The best-selling Stohlquist is available in a range of sizes, and thanks to clever design and great construction, it’s at or near the top of the class in all of them.

For children weighing anywhere from “about” 30 to 50 pounds, it has all the features you need in a life vest, making it our top pick. Unlike the infant/toddler version, the child-size is a type 3 PFD which is pretty standard for this weight range.

The Stohlquist child PFD is a sleek, low-profile vest that still packs in a lot of buoyancy. Its filling is well distributed to keep a child floating high in the water and the collar design is particularly impressive.

The main collar is quite low and won’t get in the way, but still does a fantastic job of keeping the head safely up, while a separate neck rest gives some extra support. It’s also designed for comfort. Many life jackets for kids zip high on the chest, which can feel restrictive, but the Stohlquist has a deep V front for freedom of movement.

It still fastens securely though, with a heavy-duty zipper and a security strap as a backup. There’s a crotch strap too, so even a slim child won’t be in any danger of slipping out. Side straps let you adjust it for a good fit.

This kids life vest is large and easy to catch hold of, and it’s also threaded with floating beads to keep it on the surface even when soaked.

The Stohlquist is covered in tough 200 denier nylon, making it durable, easy to clean and quick to dry. Nine color schemes are now available and it’s always best to stick to bright, easy-to-locate colors.

The dark blue one looks nice, but it’s a lot less visible and could add long seconds to the time it takes to spot a child in the water, so keep that in mind as you pick a color.

That said, if you plan to take your little one boating or doing another offshore activity, we recommend going with a type 2 vest as mentioned earlier. This will do a better job flipping them over into the face-up position if they can’t do it themselves.

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Stearns Heads-Up Child Life Vest

While slightly less comfortable than a Type 3 vest like the Stohlquist above, this US Coast Guard approved Type 2 kids life vest is a much better option for activities when not around the shoreline (such as boating or even kayaking). This is especially important for younger children.

One of the rare Type 2 life jackets in the 30 to 50 pound range range, this Stearns “Child Size” vest will do its job of turning a non-swimmer or unconscious child on their back to a face-up position.

Two straps around the waist and a padded crotch strap will keep the vest securely on your child while a collar handle is standard. Bright lime green is the only color offered but is very noticeable in the water.

One negative of this model is true with any Type 2. It will feel a bit more restrictive than a Type 3 but you can’t compromise on safety and you as a parent will feel much more at ease.

Another small annoyance is that the buckles are a little harder than normal to snap and unsnap but that’s almost nitpicking. Overall, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better Type 2 life vest for small children than the Stearns Heads-Up.

If you decide to go with a different Type 2 PFD model, make sure it is truly a USCG approved Type 2 and not simply “styled” as a Type 2 which some lesser-known brands may advertise.

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TRC Recreation Super Soft Swim Vest

The kids’ Super Soft USCG Swim Vest from TRC Recreation comes in four fun colors and a range of sizes for boys and girls. This kids life vest is designed with your child’s comfort in mind, which is incredibly important if you want to keep them from ditching the vest when you’re not looking.

The vest is made from vinyl-covered, closed-cell foam and includes an adjustable back slot for the best fit possible.

Sizes extra small and small include a crotch strap to prevent the vest from riding up or coming off in the water. The design includes Kwik-snap closures on the front of the vest that make it easier to put on or take off.

For added peace of mind, the Super Soft kids vest is a USCG-approved Type III PFD. Parents love this kid’s life jacket for the beach, pool, lake, or river. These vests are coated with a super soft, water-repellent material that doesn’t soak up water.

It doesn’t rub or cause skin irritation like some vests. The bright colors provide excellent visibility in the water. The TRC Recreation Kids’ Super Soft USCG Vest is made in the USA. It’s an excellent kid’s life vest for swimming or boating.

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O’Neill Child Reactor Life Preserver Jacket

This O’Neill vest is another unobtrusive option for kids who want something even sleeker than a Stohlquist. It’s USCG approved (Type 3) kids lifejacket and easily supports up to a 50 pound child, and buckles securely with two sturdy straps that run right around the body. There’s also a full-length zip and crotch strap.

Made out of neoprene, most kids prefer the comfort it provides over the various nylon materials other vests use. The downside is that neoprene makes the vest heavier when wet and it takes longer to dry.

Currently, three different stylish color combinations are available, so there’s really something for every child here. While blue with yellow may be the most popular option, opt for two brighter color combos for the best visibility.

Like most of the PFDs on this list, it doesn’t have a collar and is a type 3 PFD, so it shouldn’t be used for off-shore activities like boating, but it’s a high-quality vest that’s ideal for most situations.

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Stearns Child Hydroprene LifeJacket

This child hydroprene vest from Stearns is available in blue and pink versions for kids from 30 to 50 pounds. It’s a US Coast Guard-approved kid’s life jacket made with a soft and flexible hydroprene (like neoprene) shell and cross tech PE flotation foam.

The vest features an ergonomic design for an easy range of motion in and out of the water.

The Stearns Hydroprene vest was designed with a zipper closure plus two adjustable straps with buckles for secure wear at the lake, beach, or pool. An adjustable crotch strap is also included to prevent the kids’ jacket from riding up or coming off in the water.

Parents love this kids’ life jacket because it’s so comfortable their kids don’t mind wearing it all day. It doesn’t force the child to hold their arms out at an awkward angle as a Puddle Jumper does.

The bright colors give good visibility in the water and the vest also dries quickly for the material type.

The only downsides to this life jacket are that depending on your child, they may feel the fit is too tight. We’ve also heard that the crotch strap can rub on the inside of the leg, although you can remedy this with proper adjustment.

Overall, the Stearns Child Hydroprene Vest is a great choice for all-day wear during fun boating and water activities.

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O’Neill Child Superlite Life Vest

The O’Neill Child Superlite life vest comes in four color combinations for kids from 30 to 50 pounds. This US Coast Guard-approved Type III PFD child life vest includes a head panel to keep your child’s head afloat and the neck safely supported.

This life jacket for kids was designed to be extremely lightweight with a nylon shell and closed-cell PVC marine foam. It’s not as bulky as some PFDs, so it’s more comfortable both in and out of the water.

The Superlite features three adjustable front closure straps with quick-release buckles for easy on and off. An adjustable crotch strap is also included to keep the vest from riding up or slipping over the child’s head in the water.

Parents report that the O’Neill Superlite gives their kids more confidence in the pool, lake, or at the beach. Most parents report that this kids’ life jacket is so comfortable their kids forget they’re even wearing it, but some wished the chest was longer.

It may be a little too tight around the chest for kids on the higher end of the recommended weight range. It’s a good choice for kids who need a USCG Approved PFD for boating and other water activities.

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Full Throttle Water Buddies

Full Throttle’s Water Buddies life vest for kids comes in five adorable styles that boys and girls will love. Your little one can choose from five friendly and imaginative characters, including an astronaut, dinosaur, ladybug, princess, or turtle.

This US Coast Guard approved Type III PFD is made to fit children from 30 to 50 pounds.

The design features a zippered front and two west belts with adjustable buckles. It also has a fully adjustable leg strap to prevent the vest from riding up in the water or slipping off over your child’s head. Full Throttle has also included a top grab handle in case of emergency.

Owners of the Full Throttle life jacket love this PFD because it gives their kids extra confidence in the water and the fun characters make them actually want to wear it.

It’s great for swimming because kids still have a good range of motion when wearing it. The back of the vest is designed so that it sits flat, making it more comfortable when little ones want to sit or lie down.

It’s important to note that while this kids’ life jacket will keep your little one afloat, it is not designed to turn the child face-up in the water.

It’s probably better suited for kids who know how to kick, move their arms, and keep their heads up, and of course, adult supervision is required at all times. At the end of the day, this is a great life jacket for active kids, especially if you’re on a tight budget.

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SwimWays Sea Squirts Fin Friends PFD

Some children aren’t exactly thrilled to wear safety gear, either because they think it’s going to be uncomfortable or because they want to be “grown-up”.

Responsible adults are going to be wearing flotation vests on a boat, but maybe not for some onshore activities, and an adventurous child might not want to be the only one wearing a life vest.

Swimways have a great solution; instead of telling the child to wear their safety gear, why not ask them if they want to be a shark?

This Sea Squirts Type 3 kid’s vest is low profile and close-fitting, so it won’t get in the way and fastens securely with a zipper, crotch strap, and two front buckles. It’s a great solution for that child who never wants to wear a life jacket.

To add some fun, it’s a two-tone blue and has a cool fin on the back. The fin’s flexible, so won’t get in the way, and can also be used as a handhold if you’re teaching kids to swim.

There’s a grab loop at the neck making the necessity of a rescue easy. The lack of a collar and colors that don’t stand out as well as others might not make it ideal for open water boating or sailing (in that case, you’ll want a Type 2).

But for the beach or that above ground pool in your backyard, it’s a fun and functional vest.

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Stearns Children’s Life Vest – Classic Series 

The Child Classic Series is a no-frills life jacket designed specifically for children weighing between 30 and 50 pounds and is a USCG Type 3 PFD. Featuring open sides, three adjustable chest belts, and a leg strap, the vest fits tight and comfortably.

It’s made of PE floating foam with a durable nylon casing and one-inch nylon for the straps to ensure the vest will last for a long time.

The Child Classic Series is great for use in a variety of activities, including boating, swimming, tubing, or simply floating the river. Coast Guard approved, the vest comes in blue or red although the red is recommended since it stands out better in the water.

One omission that drags this vest down is the lack of a safety strap on the back of the neck. This makes it more difficult to grab hold of your child if they are panicking.

Proper sizing of this vest can also be a problem, so be sure to get accurate measurements before purchasing online to avoid having to wait for a replacement.

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The 7 best swimwear for babies

Swimming is not only great physical exercise for toddlers, it has also been proven to improve mental health, improve family relationships, and provide permanent mood improvement. While splashing in the pool looks appealing to toddlers, you may be overwhelmed by the possibilities of swimming gear for your child. From your little one’s first dive to adventures on the water, complete their gear with good pool-ready swimming gear.

First buoyancy aids

Building your child’s confidence in the water is your number one goal in teaching them to swim, and the best swimming aid for any toddler is an adult swim buddy. In order for the baby to be receptive to learning, the first step is to make him feel safe while exploring the water world. If you choose to use a swimming aid for safety reasons, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Red Cross recommend using only US Coast Guard-approved lifejackets, life jackets, or personal watercraft.

  • Type I lifejackets are best suited for offshore excursions with the possibility of rough waters.
  • Type II lifejackets are best suited for calm inland waters.
  • Type III lifejackets are the most commonly used buoyancy in swimming pools.

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Stearns Puddle Jumper / Toddler Life Jacket

While most kids resist swim vests because they are too restrictive around the neck, the Stearns Puddle Jumper® Life Jacket provides a simple solution. Kids for Kids lists this fun option in their top 10 life jackets for kids due to its durability, cute design, adjustable fit and comfortable fit. Their Newborn Life Jacket has a slightly different design to work as a lifeboat for babies up to 30 lbs. Toddler version:

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  • For children 30 to 50 pounds (about $30).
  • Recommended for use in swimming pools and calm lakes.
  • C Approved by the US Coast Guard Baby float that fits comfortably in the chest without constricting the baby’s neck thanks to the design
  • the child is safe.

Puddle Jump Lifejackets

Lifejacket / Full Throttle Child Lifejacket

For safety when boating or in harder water such as oceans, a lifejacket with a comfortable handle is ideal. The Full Throttle Child Water Buddies Vest is suitable for children weighing 30 to 50 pounds.

  • Each vest is decorated with a baby-friendly theme such as dinosaurs or ladybugs and costs about $35.
  • The back of the vest has a rounded foam that helps the baby lie on his back.
  • Front zip, waist belt and hip belt are perfect for your little one.

This US Coast Guard approved Type III lifejacket is the best choice for toddler lifejackets. Life jacket Pro due to its versatility in different water environments.

Learn to swim in a tube, trainer

Providing full 360 degree buoyancy, POOLMASTER®’s Learn-to-Swim™ Tube is a unique, heavy-duty, 20-gauge air-filled vinyl tube encased in polyester fabric for under $25. Parents highly recommend this product with an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

  • Tubular trainer consists of a ring buoy and a swim vest with a vest with a fixing strap between the legs to hold it in place. This allows the baby to paddle freely, swim upright and practice swimming forward or backward.
  • POOLMASTER® provides detailed instructions for snorkel trainers on how to inflate, deflate, wash and wear the swim accessory.
  • You can gradually adjust the boost level as your little one becomes independent in the water.
  • It has an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50 for extra sun protection.

Buoyancy Splash

A smart alternative to swim harnesses and life jackets to keep your little one safe on the surface of the water while swimming, are buoyancy suits. The uniquely shaped float panels are adjustable and evenly spaced across baby’s body to fit comfortably around baby’s body and help your little one become a more independent swimmer. As your child becomes more proficient in the water, the floats can be removed one by one.

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The Splash o Buoyancy Suit may provide buoyancy with fewer restrictions than other buoyancy aids, but be aware that it does not have US Coast Guard approval. You can find traditional women’s one-pieces, tank tops with one-piece styles, or short sleeves and shorts with fun patterns for boys and girls in the $35 to $38 price range. The life jacket advisor recommends this brand in their best toddler swim gear because the sizing options are 1 to 2 years old which fits 24 to 33 pounds, or 2 to 4 years old which fits 33 to 66 pounds.

Water swimming solutions

Water activities are most fun when learning is done through play. As soon as the young man becomes more confident afloat and begins to show off his legs and clap his hands on the surface of the water, he is ready for new challenges.

SwimFin Shark Fin

This is a durable swimming aid that costs about $31. The SwimFin is a unique tool for toddlers that comes in eight cool colors. SwimFins are recommended for children aged 18 months and older who exhibit signals such as bouncing, paddling, splashing and long kicking. These fins are comfortable and have elastic straps to fit any size. The fins are perfect for front swimming and provide more support as you dive into the water, allowing it to grow with your child’s ability. SwimFin is now an official partner of the Royal Lifesaving Society of Great Britain (RLSS UK). It was even featured on a British daytime TV programme. This Morning as «Best Gadget for Summer Vacation».

Arm straps and float discs

Arm bands, also known as floats or water fenders, are only recommended for use as toys and not as floatation aids for toddlers. This swim accessory allows your child to breathe freely while keeping their head above the water, enjoying the feeling of being underwater, as well as providing a stable and snug fit around their shoulders for a sense of security. The ingenious strap concept from Zoggs is a non-inflatable foam swim bracelet which means you won’t have to deal with the hassle of inflating and deflating it every time you use it. With high ratings for ease of use and lack of bulkiness from Wiggle’s customers, these float discs are parents’ top choice.

  • Floating discs, priced at about $20 for a box of four, are designed for children ages two to six with a maximum weight of 55 pounds.
  • From a very early age, this help can be helpful in swimming lessons up to preschool age.
  • Put them on your child’s arms, ideally two discs per arm, and then wean him to one disc until he can swim on his own. It is safe as there is no risk of punctures.

Swimming strap AquaJogger Jr.

These flotation devices, also known as lap belts, are great for toddlers learning to swim because their range of motion is not limited by arm bands. Although swimming straps are not suitable for non-swimmers, they allow children freedom of movement, which creates a more enjoyable experience for toddlers as they feel more independent in their choice of strokes. Aquagear names the AquaJogger Swim Harness as one of their Top 4 Best Float Harnesses of 2018 because it keeps the body in the correct swimming position.

  • In AquaJogger Jr. sold in blue or purple for about $20.
  • Its adjustable belt is designed for kids ages 3 to 12 with a waist up to 32 inches and a weight up to 95 pounds.
  • Over 150 customers have given the belt 5 out of 5 stars because kids love the flexibility they have to swim and jump safely.

Safety Reminders for Parents

Helping kids learn to swim is not just about swimming aids. Your role as a parent is important to him, water safety and progress.

  • If your child is in the water for the first time, start accustoming him to shallow water. When the baby feels that he can reach the ground with his feet, the feeling of fear goes away.
  • A supervising adult must supervise children in the pool at all times.
  • Use «touch control». This means that the caregiver must always hold the child by the arms, or at least at arm’s length.
  • Always check the swim aid size and weight recommendations and try it on with your child to ensure proper fit.
  • Read the manufacturer’s specific washing instructions. Take good care of your swimwear by rinsing it with fresh cold water after use to get rid of chlorine, then laying it out (if possible) to dry completely. Chlorine can contribute to the deterioration of products. Equally important is proper storage.
  • Periodically check the belts for tightness and tight fit.
  • Proper assessment of a child’s ability is important when choosing swimming equipment. Pay attention to signals showing progress. Talk to your swimming instructor about which aids are appropriate for your child’s swimming development and needs.
  • Make sure you wean your little one off more advanced floating equipment as soon as you see him develop. Children can become too dependent on one device, making learning difficult.
  • A supervising adult should also be able to swim and be aware of hazards in the pool.

Water confidence

A baby’s first little splashes can make all the difference. Take your time choosing and testing the most suitable swim device for your little one. Make him want to be as happy in the water as he is on land, and be prepared to see it finally happen — he floats.

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How to choose a life jacket — types of life jackets for the requirements of GIMS

Contents
Features of action
What is the difference between a safety vest and a life jacket
Which boats require a life jacket according to the regulations
Life jacket requirements 2023
Selection process
Maintenance

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A lifejacket is a personal safety equipment, the main task of which is to save the life of the wearer if his watercraft gets overboard. For lovers of tourism taking the first steps in the development of rafting, kayaking or any other activity that involves activity on the water, this item should become as integral a part of the equipment as a backpack or thermal underwear. At the same time, you should not think that if you “reel” dozens of tracks in the pool without problems, then this rule does not apply to you: excessive self-confidence has already killed more than one extreme, you should not add to this sad list. If water trips enter your life completely and irrevocably, then purely according to the theory of probability, and sooner rather than later, you will definitely find yourself overboard: it is in these few minutes of talking with the abyss that the vest will become your best friend and guardian angel. If, fortunately for you, the current of the reservoir is relatively calm, then it will save your strength, removing the need to waste it on keeping it on the surface. Well, if you are unlucky enough to be in a turbulent stream, then without it all your years of swimming lessons may lose all meaning, because in this case the laws of physics will work against you: the value of your own buoyancy will be minimized, and without an additional lift boost you may not get out of this mess, and no one has canceled muscle cramps from hypothermia either. If we exclude the factors of low water temperature and getting physical injuries, then the vest makes you almost completely invulnerable, and when it comes to the seas or large lakes, here you can swim very impressive distances to the shore, only occasionally taking breaks to rest.

Choose life jacket

Action features

  • Passive safety lies in the ability of a rescue device to provide a person with the opportunity to fully breathe, and, importantly, without making any special efforts: the victim may be unconscious. The volume of the vest is responsible for this, providing the necessary lifting force.

  • Active safety depends mainly on ergonomics: the vest should not impede and hamper the movement of a person who is trying to get out of the situation on his own. You must be able to row and swim in a given direction.

It is clear that too large a vest can literally allow you to live on the water for quite a long time, but it will add passivity to a person. At the other extreme, the volume of the lifeboat is too small: you can “cut” hundreds of meters in it in a free style, but if you need to rest, it will not hold well on the water, forcing you to make additional movements. Therefore, the observance of a competent ratio between active and passive safety is the main criterion for choosing a vest.


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There are two types of products: foam-filled and inflatable. Moreover, the first is considered more practical and reliable, has greater durability and resistance to adverse external factors. At the same time, foam vests take the anatomical shape of the wearer’s body much more harmoniously, can serve as protection against blows against coastal stones, and movements in them are freer. Inflatable products are convenient to store and transport when deflated, they are light, but their main direction is passive safety. Compressed air or non-combustible gas is used as filling: for reliability, there must be at least two chambers. Both varieties are made of synthetic materials with the appropriate layout established by the rules.

What is the difference between a safety vest and a life jacket

The main difference is the ability to keep on the water. Safety vests are usually foam, the thickness of the filler is no more than 2-4 mm, they are very thin and it is quite easy to be in them: you quickly get used to it, ceasing to feel it on the body. But everything is not limited to this, the equipment is also much poorer, sometimes the manufacturer’s frugality reaches the point that there may be no whistle, no headrest and belts, no reflectors. And everything is simple here: if at least one of the above components is missing, certification according to GOST is not possible. Life jackets are filled with sheets from 8 mm, they have a solid frame and good passive safety. Styrofoam, cork or polypropylene do not become unusable from aggressive external influences: the durability of the product is not in last place in the manufacturing process. Vests without fail pass all the necessary tests and certifications, and are capable of approximately 90% of cases to protect its owner from death.


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Which boats require a lifejacket according to the regulations

Any vessels weighing more than 200 kg and equipped with an engine of 10 horsepower in accordance with the requirements of the GIMS are required to have the necessary list of means to maintain safety, which includes river or sea life jackets, although in fact there is no clear species separation. The number of products must not be less than the number of people on board, and when sailing they must be dressed: otherwise, quite severe penalties may follow from the supervisory authority.

Requirements for life jackets 2023

Actually, they have remained unchanged for more than one year, but it will not be superfluous to repeat:

  • Orange color and reflectors on the chest and back.

  • Flame retardant filling materials.

  • The presence of belts for holding, including in the groin.

  • The process of putting on should be intuitive even for an ignorant person, it is necessary to put on clothes within a minute.

  • Ergonomic performance, comfort of movement when dressed and no unnecessary protruding elements that can interfere with others.

  • A signal whistle must be included.


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Selection process

General recommendations, not related to specific and highly specialized requests, are quite simple. Start from your body weight: it is impossible to get confused in the categories here, because there are only two of them — up to 35 kg and more. The size of the vest is selected according to the circumferences of the chest and waist: make sure that it fits optimally to the body. In the event of an emergency, a tightly fitting product will interfere with breathing and movement, and a dangling vest can be “lost” altogether. The nuances of life-saving equipment for certain needs should be given much more attention:

  • For Sport. If you are rowing or rafting, then off-season training is held in a specially designated place for this, for example, a section of the river. Naturally, it will be equipped in compliance with all safety requirements: not only is this happening not far from the coast, there are also safety nets located in the immediate vicinity. Therefore, active safety will prevail in training vests: the results of the swims directly depend on how freely and smoothly the athletes move. Here, compliance with the rules of the competition comes into play, the judges vigilantly supervise this, and before the start, a special commission conducts an inspection. Sports vests are small in size and very light, their lifting force is minimal, and in their characteristics they are more like safety vests.

  • For fishing and kayaking in lakes and the sea. With these types of activities, you can get very far from the coast, so staying overboard can last quite a long time, or you may even have to get to solid ground on your own. Based on this, vests require much more lift: they must hold the wearer completely without his participation, allowing him to rest between swims. On products for kayaking there is even a pocket for a drinking system, in fishing ones there is a suspension system and a large number of compartments for the necessary.

  • For rafting on catamarans and kayaks. Water tourism of this kind is characterized by falling into waves, barrels, and other unpleasant obstacles, so the likelihood of water procedures overboard increases by an order of magnitude. Inflatable vests with a very good lifting force of more than 200 Newtons will make you a real float, their compactness and lightness are convenient for throwing to the start of the distance on foot, they are very affordable in terms of budget. However, with active safety, things are not very good for them: you will be extremely clumsy to move and get ashore. The domestic rafting school puts safety for the life of tourists at the forefront, so the likelihood of using just such life jackets when going out with instructors is one hundred percent.

  • For kayaking. This segment is distinguished by serious advancement and a decent price. The vests are in full order with active safety, and the passive one is about average. Their volume is located in such a special way to protect the athlete’s chest and spine, and if a loss of consciousness occurs during a fall overboard, the body will continue to float face up in the water. In the presence of a harness, a mount for a sling cutter, a whistle, a couple of pockets for small things and a «must-car». Considering that the specifics of kayaking include frequent contacts with rocks or floating logs, the materials of manufacture have increased wear resistance: it will take a lot of effort to make the vest unusable by abrasion. Inflatable models for kayaking are not suitable at all: only the most dexterous can make an Eskimo coup in them, and even then with difficulty.

  • For a child. Everything is extremely simple here — a product is bought for a weight of up to 35 kg. The only thing that should not be done exactly is shopping for growth: the vest must fully comply with the dimensions of the baby.

Care

If you want the product to last as long as possible, then do not neglect this moment and do not throw the vest into the closet upon returning home. If swimming was performed in sea water, then it must be washed with fresh water: salt is a rather aggressive environment. If you do not want to spoil the filler, then under no circumstances wash the vest in the washing machine: just gently wash it with warm soapy water. It must be dried away from heat sources, so batteries and heaters are not suitable. And it is better to store the product in a dry and dark place, and with proper care, it will protect your life for a long time.

By alexxlab

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