7 Best Life Jackets for Infants and Toddlers To Keep Your Child Safe In Water 2020

baby life jackets for swimming

It’s crazy that summer’s about to end but everyone’s still pretty pumped up! Nothing makes us happier than enjoying the season with our loved ones.

However, if you are a parent, the safety of your children comes first before all the fun. One of the items that I always have with me when I take my kids to the beach or pool is a baby life jacket.

Is it important to buy a toddler or infant life jacket for swimming and stuff? HECK YES!

When I first read that Florida is the leading the nation in child drowning incidents, I was honestly stunned and genuinely worried. And it doesn’t end here. 80% of these deaths included children aged 5 years or less, according to USA Swimming Foundation.

If this doesn’t scare my fellow parents, I don’t know what will!

Life jackets are especially made for prevention against such unplanned incidents at the beach. Isn’t it better to be prepared for your child’s safety and avoid moments that you can never undo?

So I have taken it upon myself to help you find the best life jackets for toddlers and infants. I am only including the top-rated and credible products that are endorsed by parents and carry USCG (United States Coast Guard) approval.

Let’s check them out.

Top-Rated Tots & Infants Life Jackets For Swimming & Water Sports

1. O’Neill Wake Waterski Baby Life Jacket For Swimming

Jack O’Neill, the brains behind the brand, has been in the vest and wetsuits production business since 1952 — so you can assume they really know their stuff! Functioning from Santa Cruz, the company is now considered a revolutionary name in the surfing products industry.

The O’Neill Wake Waterski is a USCG designated vest, designed to offer guaranteed safety to your infant when they are in the water. It comprises innovative flotation technology and keeps your kid safely buckled up.

Notable Features:

  • Suitable for infants under 30 lbs
  • Contains an adjustable safety crotch strap
  • Made from nylon and neoprene material
  • Consists of a neck collar combined with a safety loop
  • Easily detachable buckles

Pros:

  • The neck support keeps the head positioned securely
  • Buckles do a great job of keeping your baby secure in the vest
  • Remarkable bounce to immediately flip the baby on his/her back

Cons:

  • Life jacket is a tad bulky
  • Offers less room for movement to the kid
  • Suitable for infants who have a skinny body type
  • Floats at the front are quite firm as well

Reviews For Wake Waterski Baby Life Jacket

“Nice life jacket design in a way to last long so it has good value. A little big for my 6 months girl but love it anyway.” – Lindsey Glass

“A very secure vest, especially the strap between the legs keeps my son secure. The fitting keeps him upright in water. The loop at the neck is also useful when we put him in the boat.” – Swanny

“The length is way too short for our baby girl and it restricts her movements” – B.A.T

“Too bulky for my baby.” – Celeste Lueck

Verdict:

The O’Neill Wake Waterski Vest is among the best infant life jackets on the market. You may want to purchase this life jacket for your little one if you are looking for a secure and durable vest that instantly turns the baby on back to avoid accidents. Experts suggest not to buy it in blue color as it is not clearly visible.

2. Stearns Infant Classic Series Life Jacket For Baby

he Stearns Classic Series is a great option for parents who want a safe and secure baby life jacket for swimming purpose. It also carries the USCG seal of approval, so you can stay assured your kid will remain protected at the beach or pool!

Stearns is a popular and reputable brand name in the US. The company makes all their products within the country. They have been selling outdoor recreational products for decades. Most Stearns’ items are quite affordable. So if you are looking for a budget-friendly life jacket for your toddler or infant, Stearns’ your go-to.

Notable Features:

  • Suitable for infants under 30 lbs
  • Durable and long-lasting construction
  • Made from nylon
  • Adjustable straps for legs and chest ensuring safety
  • Comprises a rescue loop for ease of movability

Pros:

  • Different weight range to help your kid grow into the design
  • Remarkable buoyance to keep the child afloat
  • Webbed straps and adjustable belts position the babies securely in place
  • Striking red color is best for increased visibility

Cons:

  • Occasional complaints about ill-fitting
  • Not very useful if you want a life jacket strictly for swimming purpose

Reviews for Stearns Infant Classic Life Jacket For Little Ones

“My 5 mo daughter has a petite form but it fits her properly and tightly. I specially like that she can use it till she is one year old.” – Cristina Stirewalt

“Nice vest, my toddler’s head was out of the water the entire time and it is an excellent fit” – Gigi

“I wanted to keep my baby upright in water but it is designed to keep them on their back…. It is good for boating not swimming” – Gerald Entine

“For some reason my toddler kept flipping on to the stomach — no idea why it happened! But thankfully the rescue handle helped me keep her upright.” – Dave

Verdict:

It is available in red and blue color; it’s best to go for the red one so it’s visible from afar. The product is more suitable for kids that are on boats rather than in the water.

3. Stohlquist USCG Approved Toddlers Life Jacket

Stohlquist WaterWare is a family company, operating from Buena Vista, Colorado. You must have come across their name whenever there’s a mention of products related to cold or wet activities. It’s a name you can trust!Stohlquist vest can be used for both babies and tots.

It utilizes a unique flotation technique to instantly turn your child’s head upward, in case they fall facedown in the water. This infant and toddler life jacket is approved by US coast guards.

Notable Features:

  • Fits any child between 8 lbs to 30 lbs
  • Loop handle for carrying the kid
  • Crotch straps keep the child secure
  • An over entry zipper is an additional safety
  • 200D Nylon outer shell and oxford liner

Pros:

  • Immediately turns the baby on their back if they drop facedown in the water
  • Excellent buoyancy
  • Superb security thanks to the crotch strap

Cons:

  • The zipper may cause skin chafing
  • Not suitable for swimming

Reviews for Stohlquist USCG Approved Toddlers Life Jacket

“The zipper and numerous straps keep my son positioned alright… like there’s no way he can slip out from it!” – Aundrea

“My 5 months old baby is always afloat on the water and is kept on the back instead of stomach…” – Laura

“Test the product on your child before buying, i have to return mine because it is not a good size” – Lia Behr

“The zipper at the front cause chaffing on my infant’s chin” – Jane Danny

Verdict:

Although it works well for a few chubby kids, it’s best to test it first on your infant or toddler, so you don’t end up investing in an unsuitable product. If you are looking strictly for best baby life jackets for swimming, this may not be a good choice for you.

4. Stearns Puddle Jumper Infants Life Jacket For Fresh Swimmers

Yet another remarkable product offered by Stearns. The thoughtful crafting and a wide range of merchandise to suit various wet activities attract a lot of parents who are looking for a trustworthy brand to buy a life jacket for infants or tots.

This USCG-approved Puddle Jumper is quite different from the above mentioned products. As you can see, it contains floaties or flotation pads on both arms. So basically, it is intended to maintain the kid’s balance on the water surface when they go for a swim in the pool, lake, or beach.

Notable Features:

  • Available in numerous colors
  • Best suited for children between 30 lbs to 50 lbs
  • Crosstech foam filling
  • Long-lasting nylon shell
  • Adjustable buckle on the back for secure positioning
  • No hassle of zipper or risk of chafing

Pros:

  • Excellent choice for beginners who are learning how to swim
  • Chafing free and durable construction
  • Can be adjusted easily to suit your child’s body
  • The striking colors enhance visibility
  • Allows great freedom and mobility

Cons:

  • Not suitable for boating purpose

Reviews for Puddle Jumper Infants Life Jacket

“My baby is 10 months and is a bit huge for his age but even than the puddle jumper gives him so much freedom…he can kick his legs around and is becoming independent!!” – Dayyana

“As promised it kept my little ones head above water and she gently floated on the surface” – Wayne Boardman

“If your baby flops back there will be NOTHING to hold their head, but it does a good job otherwise..” – Nicky Blue

“works for kids who are skinny… there might be blood circulation issues if you have a huge kid.” – Allison Ellis

Verdict:

You have to be extremely cautious as your kid’s hands might slip out for a moment when you are away.  It does not turn your child to the back if they fall facedown in water! You may want to use it for swimming but not for boating. Other than that, the kid has a lot of freedom and mobility which helps to boost their swimming confidence.

5. Splash About Best Toddler Life Jacket For Swimming

Splash About has a superb collection of cute-looking float suits for toddlers. The Goodwin family laid the foundations for Splash About in 2006. Since then, they have been making premium wetsuits and flotation devices to suit children with varying body types.

The first thing you’ll notice about this merchandise is the soft color selection combined with pretty designs. They are one of the best swimming life jackets for toddlers to learn this skill on their own.

Notable Features:

  • UPF 50+ float suit providing sun protection
  • Available in various colors
  • Utilizes quality chlorine resistant materials
  • Best suited for kids aged 1 to 6 years
  • Comprises proprietary 16 pieces adjustable design

Pros:

  • Keeps the kids on the surface correctly
  • Allows freedom of movement which boosts kid’s confidence
  • Adjustable 16 piece design helps to remove pieces for special swimming training

Cons:

  • Float suit loses buoyancy with time

Reviews For Splash About Toddler Life Jacket Performance During Swimming

“My girl’s head remains above the water surface and she’s becoming an independent swimmer herself!!!” – Jessica H

“Easy to take on or off thanks to the zipper at the back…” – Clara

“I couldn’t leave my child alone with it so if you are a parent you need to be there to help your kid balance” – Harlow

“It is made well overall but my twin girls found it uncomfortable… for a while they float but then they get upside down so parents be careful.” – SSC

Verdict:

The use of chlorine resistant materials makes it a healthy product for babies. The vest is pretty easy to take off the kid. It can be used as a swimming aid but is not a proper life-saving

6. Body Glove Paddle Pals Infant Life Jacket

The Body Glove company has been making suitable and durable products for people who spend their lives in water. It was first established in 1953, and since the start, they have gained a lot of appreciation for their wetsuits.

So if you are a parent, your kid’s safety is guaranteed with the Body Glove infant life jackets. This is a US Coast Guard approved toddler life jacket is a great choice for mommies and daddies seeking a premium quality learn-to-swim aid.

It is an affordable product, available at a reasonable cost. Your child will be secure and safe in this colorful vest. The cut and overlock stitching ensure long-lasting comfort for your baby.

Notable Features:

  • Armbands design to train beginners
  • Safety shoulder harness keeps the life jacket on the body
  • Available in different striking prints and colors
  • Best suited for kids weighing 30 lbs to 50 lbs
  • Safety buckle on chest and back

Pros:

  • Shoulder straps keep the vest positioned properly
  • Protection against the sun rays on the shoulder area
  • Bright colors and eye-catching graphics make it visible
  • Taking on or off is very easy

Cons:

  • May cause disbalance due to the bulky size

Reviews for Body Glove Life Jacket  for Infants

“My 3 years old son wore in in the pool… he got in and out of the water with ease. The suit fits properly to the body and didn’t slip off. Highly recommended!!!” – Amanda Josh

“My 17 months old granddaughter goes fearlessly in water now” – Peggy

Verdict:

The shoulder straps ensure the vest won’t slide off during swimming. But although this product is designed to be safe, I’d advice all mommies and daddies out there to stay with your kid when they are wearing Body Glove Paddle Pals. The bulky size may cause sudden dis balance!

7. Speedo’s Begin-To-Swim Coast Guard Approved Life Jacket


Licensed by the American Red Cross, Speedo Begin-To-Swim is a beginner level vest designed to suit kids aged 2 to 6 years. It has a slightly different design from the rest; the soft construction promotes both warmth and buoyancy. This life jacket is quite cheap in price as well — if you want a budget-friendly vest, check it out!

Speedo International has been producing a wide range of water activity products since 1928. This UK-based brand is popular among swimming professionals or athletes, as well as families looking for the highest-quality and safest items for their kids.

If I were you, I’d trust a company who has been in the business for 10 decades!

Notable Features:

  • Guard Approved Infant Life Jacket
  • UPF 50+ for protection against sun rays
  • The zipper makes it easier to put it on or take it off
  • Made from neoprene
  • Safety buckles keep the vest intact
  • Soft polyester lining enhances comfort

Pros:

  • Shoulder straps keep the vest positioned properly
  • Protection against the sun rays on the shoulder area
  • Bright colors and eye-catching graphics make it visible
  • Taking on or off is very easy

Cons:

  • May cause disbalance due to the bulky size

Reviews for Body Glove Life Jacket  for Infants

“My daughter was fighting to keep upright…” – Tabzster

“Even though i bought the recommended size for my 42lbs daughter , it does not fit properly.” – Sarah Swanson

Verdict:

The shoulder straps ensure the vest won’t slide off during swimming. But although this product is designed to be safe, I’d advice all mommies and daddies out there to stay with your kid when they are wearing Body Glove Paddle Pals. The bulky size may cause sudden dis balance.

Buy The Best Tots Or Infant Life Jacket By Keeping These Factors In Mind

Consider the three types of Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs).

The USCG has set a standard for toddler or infant life jackets to fit various age groups, based on designs and purposes. They are categorized as follows:

  • Type 1 – Works best for kids weighing at least 11 lbs. It is good for offshore recreational activities.
  • Type 2 – Suitable for kids on a boat or swimming under adult supervision. Only to be used in calm water.
  • Type 3 – Not a life-saving device and should be used under adult supervision. Immediately turns up the unconscious swimmer.

Considering these types is crucial if you want to buy a life jacket that is just the perfect size for your infant or toddler. Otherwise, your kid might feel stuck and uncomfortable and that’d really put a damper on all the fun!

Never fall for life jacket replacements.

If you want your toddler to learn swimming on their own, it is very important you choose a proper life jacket and not a replacement. The other flotation devices are suitable only for kids who are being supervised while they are in the water.

Just because you are a good swimmer, doesn’t mean your child’s a natural.

One of the biggest mistakes parents make is assuming that their kid will be a naturally great swimmer. As a result, they don’t buy a swimming aid, life jacket or any water vest for their baby!

Just remember, you’ve had years of practice which made you a pro-swimmer. Your child is taking literal baby steps into the swimming activity. Do not make a mistake you’ll regret later on.

So buy a good life jacket and give your mind some peace, knowing your baby is safe in the water.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Would these products suit my child who is above 50 lbs/below 30 lbs?

Although all products mentioned in this post are only suitable for kids weighing 30 lbs to 50 lbs, however, you may try it out in a shop to see if it’s suitable for your child. As mentioned before, sometimes the wrong size may cause discomfort (too tight, or too loose!).

Are these life jackets easy to take off and put on?

Yes, most of these vests have adjustable and easy buckling/unbuckling system.

Can I buy these products on Amazon?

Yes, all the above-mentioned life jackets are available on Amazon.

What are the trial/refund/shipping policies?

Please refer to the product page for information on trial, refund or shipping policies.

Are these products safe to use?

We have included merchandise that carries the US Coast Guard (USCG) seal of approval. Please read up the PFD types so you can buy the best toddler or infant life jacket.

Conclusion

Hopefully, my list will help you shortlist a few good life jackets for your tots or infants. Buy any of these baby life jackets for swimming, boating or any other recreational water activity you plan on doing, with complete surety that your kid is safe. This will definitely double up the fun! 🙂