5 Best Baby Life Jackets to Buy in 2018 (& How to Choose the Best for Your Child )

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Table of Contents

Introduction

It is that time of the year again, the time that everyone looks forward to: summer! It is always an opportunity to unwind, get a natural tan, rock those swimsuits and show off the toned bodies. Usually, the most populated places during summer are the beaches, with individuals and even whole families. You get to see children of different ages, having as much fun as anybody else.

However, with all the excitement in the air, precautions should be taken for the safety of kids. One of the major causes of kids’ death in the summer is drowning. Therefore, before you go to the beach or the pool with your children, get a life jacket. This is the best way to keep your kids safe this summer.

[Related: Sun Safety Tips for My Kids]

More times than not, parents tend to neglect this, especially those with kids who can swim. Swimming in the pool and in the sea are two different things. They could get overwhelmed. Therefore, it is best to buy a life jacket to play it safe. There is no harm in that.

Before we look at a number of important consideration points, let’s take you through our review of top baby life jackets…

Best 5 Baby Life Jackets Reviews

Salus Bijoux Baby Vest - Blue
TOP PICK
Stearns Puddle Jumper Infant Hydroprene Life Jacket, Pink
Stohlquist Infant PFD 8-30 lbs, Red/Yellow
Salus Bijoux Baby Vest - Blue
Stearns Puddle Jumper Infant Hydroprene Life Jacket, Pink
Stohlquist Infant PFD 8-30 lbs, Red/Yellow
$84.97
$33.99
$54.63
Salus Bijoux Baby Vest - Blue
Salus Bijoux Baby Vest - Blue
$84.97
TOP PICK
Stearns Puddle Jumper Infant Hydroprene Life Jacket, Pink
Stearns Puddle Jumper Infant Hydroprene Life Jacket, Pink
$33.99
Stohlquist Infant PFD 8-30 lbs, Red/Yellow
Stohlquist Infant PFD 8-30 lbs, Red/Yellow
$54.63

1. Salus Bijoux Baby Vest

The Salus Bijoux baby life jacket is a sweet and trusted baby life jacket. It has a three-piece flotation collar makeup that sets it apart. The center part is for nestling the baby’s head for comfort. The two side panels are for cradling the head for extra safety. This means that your baby’s face is framed gently by them to keep out water.

It is designed to accommodate babies that weigh between 9 and 25 pounds. It goes beyond the usual 18-pound baby life jackets in the market. You do not need to go any extra mile if your baby weighs more than 18 pounds. It is time to breathe easy.

The back is made from mesh and is thin. It does not cause any discomfort for your baby in case it needs to lie on a blanket. And the liner of the jacket is Dry-Lex Aerospacer which is breathable, making room for movement and for air. Your baby would be comfortable while relaxing in the pool.

Pros:

  • It comes with a three-piece flotation collar for maximum comfort and functionality.
  • The jacket liner is breathable, making room for air on your baby’s skin.
  • The design is such that any baby between 9 and 25 pounds can comfortably use it.
  • Its back is made of mesh and is thin for easy relaxation and comfort.
  • It comes in a variety of beautiful colors: blue, red, green, pink and yellow.

Cons:

  • It is not approved by the US Coast Guard.

2. Stohlquist Toddler Life Jacket

The Stohlquist is a great toddler life jacket. The color is bright red and yellow to make it easily visible in the event you cannot locate your child. The color does not merge with the color of water in any way. This is an important feature in life jackets because visibility is key.

It has a double collar that cradles your baby’s head to lend support, comfort and safety. This feature is special especially for babies that are six months and less. Their reflexes are still forming so they need any support they can get.

It perfectly fits babies who weigh 8-30 pounds. In other words, it is a suitable baby life jacket for 6months babies or more, up to 1 year. Look no further if getting the right baby life jacket has been elusive. This is a wise and dependable choice.  The crotch strap allows for adjustments which makes accommodating different baby sizes easy.

It has a zip in front that opens easily. Then there is a cinch for double safety but releases easily in case of an emergency. Even if your toddler fiddles with the buckle, the zipper still keeps the jacket in place.

It is a type II life jacket that is approved by the US Coast Guard. This means that it is safe for use anywhere and not just because the manufacturers said so. Furthermore, it quickly flips your baby on their back if they are face down.

Pros:

  • It has a crotch strap that is adjustable.
  • It comes in a bright color that makes it highly visible.
  • It is suitable for babies between 8 to 30 pounds.
  • With a zip and cinch, it provides double safety for your baby.
  • Its grab loop is readily reachable and easy to hold.
  • It is approved by the US Coast Guard.

Cons:

  • There is a chance the zipper would bruise the chin of your baby if they are too small.

3. Stearns Puddle Jumper Infant Hydroprene Life Jacket

This bright pink Stearns baby life jacket has got a lot of positive reviews. The color makes it right for use in open waters, even though it has to be done with caution. It makes for high visibility, no matter how tiny your baby is. The color may also make it perfect as a baby girl life jacket.

The flotation collar is made with durable foam to last a long time. The collar is not going to give way any time soon. It holds up your baby’s head and supports the neck to keep water away from them. This collar also makes flipping your baby to face upwards very convenient.

The leg and crotch straps are secured with cinch so that it is easy to unbuckle yet secure while in use. They are adjustable so as to accommodate babies of different ages. The grab loop is sturdy and easy to hold at any position, to prevent accidents in the water.

It is approved by the US Coast Guard and has been certified safe for use aboard boats.

Pros:

  • The bright color makes it a perfect baby life jacket.
  • Its cover is made from Hydroprene and is soft, eliminating chafing against your baby’s skin.
  • The foam of the flotation collar is soft yet durable.
  • The crotch and leg straps are secured with cinch for extra safety and stability.
  • The grab loop is strong and easy to hold on to.
  • The jacket has the seal of approval of the US Coast Guard.

Cons:

  • It has the tendency of pushing up into the baby’s face.
  • For bigger babies, the fit around the neck may be too snug.

4. Speedo Infant Personal Life Jacket

The Speedo baby life jacket is a trusty life jacket for babies and toddlers. The outer covering of the vest is covered with nylon but the lining is made with soft polyester. Not only does it give comfort but also safety. The slippery nylon does not allow for water to soak into the foam. You see, water-logged life jackets become heavy and weighs the wearer down.

The collar is heavily padded to adequately support babies’ necks. At tender ages, babies do not have the ability to carry their heads properly. But with this life jacket, you can rest assured that your baby’s neck is steady in the water.

The leg and chest straps are easy to use and can be adjusted to suit your baby’s size. You can tighten or loosen, as the need arises. The buckles are cinch, easy to maneuver around but difficult for children to undo. They stay in place, just the way you fix them.

The color of the baby life jacket is pink and blue. This feature is very important in life jackets generally and kids’ life jackets specifically. Even in a pool, your child could go missing but a life jacket could save the day. Therefore, it is important to pick one with a bright color.

It is approved by the US Coast Guard, an important point, for use anywhere.

Pros:

  • The straps on the jacket can be adjusted to suit any purpose.
  • The collar is heavily padded so that your baby’s neck is properly supported.
  • The outer covering is nylon to protect the soft polyester from being waterlogged.
  • The color is bright enough for visibility.
  • It is approved by the USCG.
  • It is affordable.

Cons:

  • For littler babies, it could be bulky.
  • The vest could lift up to your baby’s face.

5. Full Throttle Infant/Child Nylon Vest

This baby life jacket is designed to accommodate babies and children who weigh up to 50 pounds! Now, that is a feature to cherish. Not only would it work for your infant, it would also work for your two-year-old. Your baby would be cocooned in it while your toddler would sit pretty. The jacket would not be the worse for wear as long as the weight limit is adhered to.

It is multi-colored, with fun fish pictures on it. If your child is one of those who hate life vests, then this could interest them. And of course when they wear it, they can still look down on it as they relax in the water. As for visibility, its many colors keep it in the sight of everyone around. It is a win-win.

The collar is fitted to feel like a pillow. Therefore, it is comfortable and safe for use with babies. It is made to support the head and neck so that they stay above water. Even a squeamish child would feel comfortable wearing this life jacket.

The V-neck of the jacket means that it does not get in the face of your child or choke them. A lot of life jackets make babies and toddlers uncomfortable. This is because they could be high-necked or rise to their face. This, though, has the advantage over those. It is open in front so that your child does not feel suffocated.

It has a single leg strap that keeps the jacket stable and in check. It can be adjusted, depending on the size of the child. This leg strap could double as a crotch strap, even though it is thin. But the strap that runs across the hips lends it adequate support to make it effective.

The grab loop fits the hand comfortably for quick and easy recovery in an emergency. And the jacket is approved by the USCG for passing all the right tests. Above all else, it is affordable. There is no need to break the bank for one of these.

Pros:

  • It is designed to comfortably carry babies and children that weigh up to 50 pounds.
  • The color is unique – multiple with interesting fish pictures to keep your child occupied.
  • The collar feels like a pillow – it makes your child comfortable without chafing their skin.
  • The V-neck eliminates the chance of the jacket being uncomfortable on the neck.
  • The single leg strap keeps it in place.
  • It is approved by the USCG and is affordable.

Cons:

  • It has the tendency of pushing a child forward in water, instead of keeping them in place.

This Is Important to Note…

If it is within your power, do not take a newborn infant into a boat or to the beach. Experts have advised that this is dangerous. This is because you may not find a life jacket that properly fits them. And if it does not fit, it may not offer adequate safety. The only way using a life jacket would work for them is by custom-fitting the jacket. But this is not an everyday occurrence so it is best to keep them away from water.

If your baby weighs more than 18-pounds, there may not be an available life jacket to fit in the market. All the life jackets meant for babies that are presently available are from 18 pounds and below (anything above this might actually be a toddler life jacket). So if you need a life jacket for a 20-pound baby for example, it may have to be custom-made. You could check the Naya baby life jacket because it has a lot of exciting features.

In the event you have to take your child out there, look out for a newborn baby life jacket that carries the US Coast Guard logo. This logo would mean that the jacket has been certified as safe for use. You stand a better chance of providing safety for your child with this type. And test it on your child first before buying. This is to ensure that it can hold them up, keeping their head above water. This test can be carried out in shallow water or a baby pool.

Making the Right Choice

As a parent, it is ideal to know that different types of life jackets exist. Contrary to belief, life jackets are not one-size-fits-all, whether for children or adults. Basically, there are three types of life jackets that are in the market. Having this knowledge would help you in choosing the best:

  • Type I – this is designed to keep a user safe and floating in rough waters. It is used when by those that may be in the waters for longer than normal. So this could mean that it is bulky. Therefore, it is not ideal for your child.
  • Type II – this is what you need for your child. It is the one you see in use every day. It is tailored for use close to shore and would typically hold a person who is unconscious up in water. This feature makes it perfect for babies because their reflexes are not formed. Even though it can be somewhat restrictive, with time, children would adapt. Furthermore, it is not bulky and is inexpensive.
  • Type III – this type is not as bulky or ill-fitting as type I. but it is not right for use for babies because it cannot hold them up. It is comfortable and strong but can only be used in special situations. Under close supervision, though, this could work as a baby life jacket for 1-year old. 1-year olds usually weigh more than 18 pounds and there are type III life jackets fitted for them.

From the above list, it is clear that type II is the right life jacket for babies. Be sure to have them around you this summer, especially if you have a boat. Here is the video about choosing life jackets for infants.

Some Key Features of a Baby life Jacket

There are some important features that you have to look out for before you pick one. Given, there are other features but these ones are non-negotiable. Once you see them on a life jacket, then you are well on your way to getting the best:

  • The seal of the US Coast Guard. This means that there is no compromise. Every life jacket that has been tested and approved carries this seal. So you can rest assured with it.
  • Crotch strap. This is to keep the life jacket properly secured on your baby’s body. Without it, it has the tendency of slipping off their body.
  • Grab loop. The loop is for easy grabbing just in case your baby accidentally falls into water. It is a simple handle where your hand can fit without struggle.
  • Flotation collar. This is the feature that keeps your baby’s head above water.

The Fit Has to Be Right

This factor cannot be overemphasized. You see, if the jacket is ill-fitting, then its goal is defeated. Life jackets are not like clothes, where you can use a size a little bigger. Therefore, do not give in to the temptation to get a big size. If your baby outgrows its baby life jacket suit, get another one; it is not to be grown into. If there is a space as little as an inch, it could be dangerous. In the same vein, do not get a size too small.

How would you know if it is too big or too small? Sometimes, it is difficult to tell just by looking generally. But if there are spaces between the shoulders and the inner top of the jacket, it is big. Another way is to lift their arms up. If the jacket hits their jaw or ears, it is too big. Again, if they can slide out without having to unbuckle, it is too big.

If the fit is too snug, it would make breathing difficult. And if breathing is difficult, danger is looming. Do not buy that. What is the point of putting your child out there if they cannot breathe? This is a great possibility as you seek to get the right size. However, if your child is uncomfortable, you would know.

After the Right Fit, What Next?

Source

You have to test it to be sure it works properly. That it fits right does not mean it is functional. A lot of people just pick out life jackets without checking if they work. The most practical way to test it is to put it on them and put them in the water, face down. A working baby life jacket shirt or suit would immediately turn them face up so they do not drown. The same thing happens when unconscious persons have life jackets on them. If this does not happen instantly, it is best to discard the life jacket.

To further play it safe, do not ever purchase a second-hand life jacket for any reason. This is because life jackets do wear out and expire. It is even more dangerous to buy one whose origin you do not know. If you buy from a stranger, you wouldn’t know how well it was catered for. Your child’s safety does not need to have a price tag on it so do not scrimp. Besides, life jackets are really affordable.

Our Top Pick

While we’ve ensured that we selected only top quality life jackets, the prize for the best baby life jacket (in our own view) goes to Stearns Puddle Jumper Infant Hydroprene Life Jacket.

It checks out on all the important points but goes further to ensure that your baby is comfortable while being kept safe. That combination of safety without compromise on comfort did it for us.

Conclusion

It is true that everything depends on choice. But sometimes, we do not know what to look out for and that’s alright. However, if you keep this information close to your heart, you would make a great purchase. It does not have to be a chore; you could make it fun. So keep your mind open to recommendations. The Body Glove baby life jacket should be added to your list of recommended products.

Remember, your child deserves the best and safest. There is no price to be put on safety. So do not scrimp on the dollar while buying. And do not take a used baby life jacket. There are so many to choose from in the market and they are affordable. The bottom line is that the best baby life jacket for your child is waiting for you.

Recommended Reading:

Child Safety Car Seat Buying Guide (2018 Review)

6 Best Portable Kids Swimming Pools to Buy in 2018

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