If your family enjoys spending time on or near the water, an infant life jacket is a necessity. Whether it’s the beach, on the boat, fishing by the lake or river, or relaxing by the pool, keeping your little one safe is extremely important. The number one consideration when enjoying family time near the water with children of any age is that adult supervision is ABSOLUTELY necessary. Life vests and flotation devices go a long way towards protecting your child’s life, but supervision is the best way to prevent a tragedy. Parents may also want to consider a Red Cross course in First Aid and CPR, which can save your child’s or another adult’s life in case of an accident. Survival swim lessons are available for young children and regular swim lessons and baby swim classes can help your child become more comfortable in the water and learn important safety skills like floating, treading water, and not swallowing water.
When choosing an infant life vest, safety and fit are the most important factors. Be sure that your child is within the weight range for the vest that you choose and that the particular design fits comfortably and properly. For infants, the life jacket should have a collar that supports baby’s head and helps to keep them face up in the water. It should be Coast Guard approved and have a grab strap though that you can easily grab and hold on to your little one in case of an emergency.
Popular Infant Life Jacket Options
The Stohlquist Unisex Infant/Toddler Nemo Infant Life Jacket is a favorite of reviewers and parents that have actually used the vest. The wrap around flotation device is uniquely designed so that the child always remains face up in the water, even of they try to turn themselves over. It has two support collars to safely cradle baby’s head. The life jacket is simple to take on and off with a front entry zipper and the front is also secured with a quick release buckle for added security. An adjustable crotch strap and side straps ensures a proper comfortable fit. Adding to the vest’s comfort is a thin, low-profile back panel that allows your child to sit comfortably without a lot of extra bulk. A quick grab handle is outfitted with floating beads that always keep the handle on the top of the water. Made for children 30 lbs. and under, this life vest is constructed of 200 denier nylon and is a type II PFD.
The Stearns Infant Classic Boating Vest has a simple, practical design that provides safety for little ones in and around the water. The bright color allows the vest to easily be spotted in case the unthinkable happens and your child ends up in the water accidentally. The contoured float above the neck encourages face up flotation and the one inch web nylon chest strap and crotch strap ensure a comfortable and safe fit. There’s also a convenient grab strap to pull kids out of the water. This Coast Guard approved life jacket is designed for children 30 lbs. and under and is constructed of durable nylon.
Also from Sterns, the Stearns Infant Hydro PFD is a popular infant life jacket with several desirable features. Most notably, users appreciate the double crotch strap design. Though it requires attachment of a second strap that can make taking the vest on and off slightly more difficult, this particular design prevents the “wedgie” caused by single crotch straps. With the very thin and stretchy neoprene back panel, this particular vest allows for plenty of mobility and freedom of movement as well as a proper, snug fit. It’s available in gold and grey and also a bright blue and orange version.
The Full Throttle Infant/Child Nylon Vest will keep your little one safe at the beach or by the pool and they’ll look adorable in the colorful fish or mermaid designs (it also comes in high-visibility orange). It’s easy to put on with a single adjustable crotch strap and adjustable waist strap. A quick grab strap makes holding on to little ones in the water very easy. This vest is designed for children up to 50 lbs. and Coast Guard approved PFD Type II.
The Mustang Survival Lil’ Legends 100 Flotation Vest is designed with a cooling, ventilated back panel to help keep little ones more comfortable and less fussy. The segmented head panel allows for proper cradling of infants’ head and neck and uniquely shaped mobility panels provide freedom of movement. It has a heavy duty grab strap, front zipper, and wide waist belt with a quick release buckle. Specifically designed for coastal and offshore boating activities, this life jacket is available in infant, child, and youth sizes and comes in several bright colors.
The Obrien Infant with Collar Nylon Vest is manufactured with rapid dry Qubicfit fabric so that it will dry quicker. Quibicfit is also lighter than traditional neoprene, allowing for more comfort for your child, even in water. The vest fabric is also resistant to mold and mildew and is flexible and stretchable for an easy, proper fit. The front zipper and adjustable straps also help to ensure the correct fit. A sturdy nylon grab strap allows you to quickly get a hold of your child in the water and extra-wide arm holes make it easy for baby to be lifted up normally and comfortably. This is a USCG approved Type II infant life jacket.
O’Neill is a popular and quality manufacturer of adult life jackets, and the O’Neill Wake Waterski Infant USCG Vest has all of the important safety features of an adult vest, with several more features just for little ones. The shell is constructed of lightweight and flexible foam and neoprene and has two waist straps and a single crotch strap, each with quick release buckles. It’s designed for children 30 lbs. and under, is USCG approved, and has a supportive head rest with grab strap. It’s available in several fun colors for both girls and boys.
The Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe Vest is a uniquely designed infant life jacket that provides optimal fit and comfort for baby. A crotch panel rather than a strap helps avoid discomfort, and the convenient buckle at the collar helps the life vest go on and off easily. A contoured shape adds comfort and mobility and the oversize collar safely cradles your little one’s head. It’s a USCG II approved life jacket for little ones 30 lbs. and under.
Available in fun, bright colors and designs, the Speedo Infant Personal Flotation Device is perfect for a day on the lake or the river. The shell is durable nylon, while the interior has a soft polyester lining for comfort. A separate chest and waist strap, as well as two leg straps facilitate a proper fit. The specially designed neck pillow helps to support baby’s head while in the water. This is a great life vest at a reasonable price.
An infant life jacket is absolutely necessary if you are enjoying activities with your baby that are on or near the water. Share your favorite infant life jackets with us in the comments below!
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, pennuja.