11 Best Life Jackets For Infants' Safety In Water In 2024

check_icon Research-backed

Babies are excellent swimmers, but their in-depth expertise in swimming doesn’t mean that they don’t need adequate protection when you venture out into the pools, beaches or other open bodies of water with them. The best life jacket for infants provides security and will keep your baby safe while helping them improve their movement skills without falling into the risk of submerging or drowning during water activities. So to help you buy one, we have compiled a list of the top-rated life jackets for babies with a wide array of features, functions, and styles. Read on to explore some best-selling options.

In This Article

11 Best Life Jackets For Babies

1. Best For Temperature Control: Salus Bijoux Baby Vest

 

If your baby tends to get hot with other life jackets, then this life jacket for kids from Salus offers a good amount of temperature control. Check out this review video showcasing a tester’s experience to know more about this product.

Item Weight: 11.2 ounces | Color: Pink

Pros

  • The jacket has a large collar, which is designed to keep the baby’s head centered and above water.
  • Salus lines this infant life jacket with material that allows ventilation and thus keeps the baby cool.
  • The mesh-paneled life jackets for babies makes it comfortable for the little one to lie down in a floating water bed.
  • You can pick this life jacket in five bright colors for easy visibility in the water.

Cons

  • The life jacket is not certified by the US Coast Guard.
  • A few parents found it tricky to put the jacket on.
Our Reviewer's Experience

"This vest has been an essential accessory for my water baby. It's quite comfortable and doesn't hinder his mobility. The integrated handle at the top comes in handy to lift him out if necessary."

2. Best For Young Infants: Stohlquist Infant and Toddler Life Jacket

 

Stohlquist’s life jacket for kids offers adequate support, thus making it quite ideal infant or toddler life jacket. Here’s a review video summarizing the features of this expert-approved product.

Item Dimensions LxWxH: ‎20 x 19 x 2 inches | Outer Material: ‎Foam | Item Weight: ‎0.62 Pounds | Material: ‎Nylon | Color: ‎Yellow/Blue

Pros

  • This life jacket has a double collar. The thick floatation collar at the back offers a lot of neck support, which is an especially useful feature for young infants who do not have very strong neck muscles.
  • The jacket has both a zipper and buckle straps, which together provide the best fit for the child. A crotch strap at the bottom ensures a snug fit.
  • The grab strap handle is large and strong. You can even use the grab handle to hang the jacket for drying.
  • The comfort-fit baby life jacket is available in a bright yellow color, which is easy to spot.
  • It is approved by the US Coast Guard.

Cons

  • The double collar may come across as thick and tight around the neck for young infants.
  • The jacket itself can be large and bulky for babies less than six months old.

Our Reviewer's Experience

"The simple design of this vest is noteworthy; it's easy to put on and adjust. It also fits my child snugly and offers satisfactory comfort. Moreover, I like that it grows with my tot."


protip_icon Caution
Never leave your child unattended in or near the water, even if they are wearing a life jacket.

3. Best Lightweight:  O’Neill Infant Superlite Life Vest

 

4.6
O’Neill Infant Superlite Life Vest Image: O’neill

This baby life jacket cum swim aid for infants from O’Neill is a lightweight option but provides ample protection.

Outer Material: ‎Shell,Foam | Item Weight: ‎0.01 Ounces | Material: ‎Nylon | Color: ‎Pacific/Yellow/Black:Yellow

Pros

  • The exterior shell is made from polyester for durability. The inside of the jacket is filled with polyethylene foam for good buoyancy.
  • The jacket is soft and comfortable for the baby to wear for an extended duration.
  • A crotch strap keeps the jacket in place while a sturdy grab strap handle adds extra safety.

Cons

  • Some parents found the jacket to be bulky and also felt that its fitting is a bit stiff.

Our Reviewer's Experience

"Adjustable, comfortable fit, and safe�this infant jacket ticks all the right boxes. What makes it extra special is the included rescue loop and quick-release buckle, which add an extra layer of security. I'd say it's a worthwhile choice for every parent's peace of mind."


Salus Bijoux Baby Vest
Best For Temperature Control
Stohlquist Infant and Toddler Life Jacket
Best For Young Infants
O'Neill Infant Superlite Life Vest
Best Lightweight
Weight 11.2 ounces ‎0.62 Pounds ‎0.01 Ounces
Color Pink ‎Yellow/Blue ‎Pacific/Yellow/Black
Dimensions LxWxH- ‎20 x 19 x 2 inches-
Outer Material- ‎Foam ‎Shell,Foam
Material- ‎Nylon ‎Nylon
Rating
Reviews6372,1361,160
Price$129.95$57.83$37.91

4. Best For Secure Fit: O’Neill Wake Waterski Infant Vest

 

The infant life jacket provides a snug fit along with excellent safety in the water.

Material: Nylon | Color: Yellow/pacific/coal

Pros

  • There are dual straps on the waist.
  • This infant life jacket with crotch straps provides a secure fit.
  • A large grab handle on the top is easy to reach for an adult while the baby is afloat in the water.
  • The large, flap-shaped collar keeps the head above water.

Cons

  • Some parents found the jacket so big that it almost came to the baby’s chin and made the little one feel uncomfortable.

Our Reviewer's Experience

"This jacket's vibrant colors appeal to my kid; therefore, I don't have to struggle to make her wear it. Though it's a little bulky, it's a relief that it provides immediate back floatation in the water. Plus, it's versatile enough to be used in both open water and pools."


5. Best Durability: Stearns Infant Classic Series Vest

This buoyant infant life jacket from Stearns has multiple features for the enhanced protection of the baby.

Item Dimensions LxWxH: ‎16.5 x 12.5 x 2.75 inches | Outer Material: ‎Nylon | Item Weight: ‎0.63 Pounds | Material: ‎Nylon | Color: ‎Blue

Pros

  • The life jacket for kids comes with an approval seal of the US Coast Guard, so you can be sure that it has been rigorously tested.
  • The exterior shell is made from nylon, which makes it durable. The inside of the jacket is filled with polyethylene foam.
  • A large grab handle lets you grab hold of the baby easily.

Cons

  • The life jacket may come across as too large and heavy for young infants.
  • A few parents noted that the jacket is unpredictable when it comes to rolling the baby, and some time may roll the baby face down. However, it can be due to the improper fitting of the jacket.

Our Reviewer's Experience

"Despite its snug fit, this life jacket's safety assurance is satisfying. The bright-colored design is charming and makes it visible in open water. It has been a good buy overall."


protip_icon Do remember
Ensure the PFD has a bottom safety strap that goes in between the legs and prevents it from going over the child’s head.

6. Best Easy-To-Wear:  Airhead Infant Nylon Life Jacket

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The 1,065 positive customer reviews on Amazon are a testament to its quality and reliability.

The simple design of this life jacket makes it easy to put it on to the baby while on the go.

Item Dimensions LxWxH: ‎23 x 19 x 18 inches | Outer Material: ‎Shell | Item Weight: ‎0.13 Pounds | Material: ‎Nylon | Color: ‎Blue

Pros

  • The large foam collar provides extensive support to the baby’s head when they are in the water.
  • The non-restrictive infant life jacket is made from polyester that provides excellent durability and range of motion.
  • The adjustable straps at the crotch keep the jacket in place when the baby plays in water.

Cons

  • The life jacket can be a bit big for young babies.
Our Reviewer's Experience

"My baby happily wears this jacket without any fuss�a relief! It's comfortable and extremely secure, especially with the added head padding. Our water adventures have become more fun and safer with this."

7. Best US Coast Guard-Approved:  Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe Vest

4.5

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The 1,466 positive reviews on Amazon are proof that this product meets customers' expectations.

The fit of the life jacket cum floatation device for babies can be customized, thanks to its design and the way you put it on.

Item Dimensions LxWxH: ‎15 x 2.8 x 20 inches | Item Weight: ‎0.2 Ounces | Material: ‎Nylon | Color: ‎Orange

Pros

  • There is a buckled strap on the shoulder that allows you to tighten or loosen the collar, and adjust the jacket as the baby grows older.
  • A single waist strap allows a snug fit and also prevents the infant jacket from sliding upwards in water.
  • This life jacket for infants keeps the baby’s head above water due to the built-in flap-like head support collar. The US Coast Guard approves the jacket.

Cons

  • The jacket can be big for young babies and may slide upwards in such cases.
  • Oversized jackets can make the baby uncomfortable.
Our Reviewer's Experience

"I find this vest reassuringly safe for my child's water exploration. Though the thick foam adds a little bulk, it makes it more supportive and keeps his head above the water. The elasticized leg strap is a thoughtful bonus for added comfort."

8. Best Adjustable: Connelly Babysafe Nylon Vest

This is a secure and adjustable infant life jacket that grows with the child.

Item Dimensions LxWxH: ‎24.75 x 15 x 2.5 inches | Outer Material: ‎Nylon | Item Weight: ‎0.5 Pounds | Material: ‎Nylon | Color: ‎Blue

Pros

  • The shoulder straps allow you to adjust the collar easily. It increases the life of the jacket since you can use it even as the baby grows.
  • A strap on the waist allows adjusting the jacket around the torso. Optimal adjustment prevents the jacket from slipping off.
  • The neck collar is positioned high and is well-padded. It ensures adequate support for the baby’s neck while floating in the water.
  • The jacket gets the US Coast Guard seal of approval.

Cons

  • The life jacket may be a bit large for young babies.
Our Reviewer's Experience

"The best part of this vest is the head support, always keeping my baby's head above the water. Though adjusting it takes time, it's reassuringly secure once it's all set."

9. Best For Maximum Visibility: Titop Professional Babies’ Swim Vest

The Titop life jacket keeps the baby afloat and is also easily visible while in the water.

Material: ‎Cotton | Color: ‎Fruit Green

Pros

  • The bright fluorescent yellow of this infant life vest is an easily visible color.
  • The zipper at the front makes it very easy to put on the jacket and remove it.
  • This safety-tested infant life jacket is well-cushioned to keep the baby comfortable.

Cons

  • A zipper is not adjustable like a strap. Therefore, a baby may quickly grow out of it.
  • The jacket is not approved by the US Coast Guard.

Our Reviewer's Experience

"Thanks to this jacket's adjustable nature, my kid feels safe and comfortable in the water. The strap could be gentler, but overall, the material and zippers are superb."


protip_icon Quick tip
Ensure the lifejacket or PFD keeps your child’s chin above the water level for easy breathing.

10. Best For Buoyancy: Oceans7 Infant Life Jacket

This life vest from Oceans7 is easy for the parent to strap on while also being comfortable for the baby.

Item Dimensions LxWxH: ‎3 x 13 x 12.5 inches | Outer Material: ‎Foam | Item Weight: ‎0.64 Pounds | Material: ‎Nylon | Color: ‎Blue/White – Childs

Pros

  • The inside of the life jacket for kids is filled with polyethylene foam for buoyancy while the shell is made from durable nylon.
  • There are two straps with buckle at the front that keep the jacket secure even when the baby is playing in the water.
  • The US Coast Guard approves the life jacket.

Cons

  • Parents feel that the jacket is too small even for young infants. A few parents noticed that the baby seemed to be uncomfortable wearing the jacket.
Our Reviewer's Experience

"Besides its safety value, this vest adds a whole lot of fun to my little one's water play. The slight under-the-strap discomfort aside, it offers a good fit and doesn't restrict her movement. Also, its quick-drying nature is a bonus."

11. Best Portable: Stearns Infant Hydro Life Jacket

*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

This infant life vest is designed to be compact and easy-to-carry when you’re traveling long distances. It is one of the best neoprene options for babies.

Item Dimensions LxWxH: ‎1 x 1 x 1 inches | Material: ‎Blend | Color: ‎Gold

Pros

  • A zipper at the back of the jacket makes it easy to put on the life jacket and also remove it.
  • Two leg straps allow you to secure the life jacket correctly.
  • The large neck collar provides support to the neck and also keeps the head upwards when the baby is in water.

Cons

  • The neck of the jacket may be small for young babies. The zipper limits the expandability of the jacket.
Our Reviewer's Experience

"Finding this jacket has indeed been a relief, as we often go for beach outings on weekends. Though an adjustable neck clip would be better for added comfort, its overall durability and secure fit make it a worthwhile consideration."

Why Should A Baby Wear A Life Jacket? 

Babies need to wear a life jacket in and around water bodies to prevent the risk of drowning. Children between the ages of one to four years are the most vulnerable and have the highest drowning rates (1).

Younger infants have a further risk. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants can drown in as little as a couple of inches of water (2). You may avoid these risks with a life jacket. Keep reading to know why a life jacket is a good investment.

What Are The Benefits Of Wearing Life Jackets? 

An infant life jacket can:

  1. Keep the baby afloat: The foremost benefit of a life jacket is that it keeps the baby floating in the water. A life jacket is made from materials that can stay afloat while keeping the person above water.
  1. Can keep head upwards: Most kids’ life jackets are designed such that they can turn the wearer to a face-up direction. It keeps the face always above water so that the baby can breathe. It is most useful in crucial situations where the wearer has lost consciousness.
  1. Make the baby visible: The bright colors of the jackets keep the baby visible in the water. Bright colors are also easy to spot during an emergency.

There are various types of life jacket available for babies.

Types Of Life Jacket 

There are three types of life jacket depending on their place of use and extent of protection (3) (4):

  1. Type 1: It offers the best buoyancy and can turn the wearer to the face-up position. Their high levels of safety make them ideal for the ocean and rough water use. Also called offshore life jackets, type 1 life jackets are available only in a couple of sizes – one for adults and one for children. It is highly unlikely to find this jacket in infant and toddler sizes.
  1. Type 2: Type 2 life jackets are designed for use in calm and inland waters, which are places with a high likelihood of quick rescue. It can also turn the wearer’s face upwards, but not necessarily always. Type 2 life jackets are available in a variety of sizes, including infant and child sizes.
  1. Type 3: This type of jacket is only used for water sports in calm, inland water. Unlike the previous types of life jackets, it does not flip the wearer into a face-up position and thus is not very helpful when the wearer is unconscious. Multiple size options are available in this type.

Infant and toddler life jackets come under type 2 and 3. Floatation rings worn by children around arms and waist are not jackets, and hence do not get counted as a type of life jacket. It is essential to pick a life jacket depending on the usage.

How To Choose The Right Life Jacket For A Baby? 

Consider the following points when shopping for a life jacket for an infant:

  1. Place of use: The type of water body you plan to visit with the baby should determine whether you select type two or three. If you are visiting an inland body with calm water, but still vast (like a river or pond), then it is advisable to use type 2. The baby can wear a type 3 jacket when playing around in a swimming pool or any other small water body.
  1. Weight limit: There is a limit to the amount of weight a life jacket can keep afloat. It is essential to check the allowed weight range of the floatation device before putting it on your baby or toddler.
  1. Jacket’s color: Pick kids’ life jackets that have bright and fluorescent colors. You can choose from bright orange, fluorescent yellow, or even bright red. These colors are easy to see in the blue-green background of water.
  1. Adequate harness straps: The life jacket should securely go around the baby’s body. There should be a sufficient number of adjustable straps that will prevent the jacket from accidentally falling off in the water.
  1. Grab handle: Infant life jackets with grab handles will allow you to quickly catch hold of the baby. It is particularly useful during emergencies.
  1. Approval seals: Choose life jackets that have approval from reliable agencies such as the US Coast Guard since they would have been rigorously tested for their safety.

Tips For Infant Life Jacket Use 

  • Double check all the straps: Before getting into the water, check if all the buckles are tightly secured. Tug the straps and the zipper a little to know if they are set in place properly. A good life vest fit is essential to prevent the jacket from accidentally coming off in the water.
  • Check for wear and tear: A tear or any other damage can compromise its safety. It may reduce the buoyancy of the life jacket. So periodically inspect the jacket for any presence of damage.
  • Stop use if tight: If the jacket becomes tight and uncomfortable to the baby, then it is quite likely the little one has outgrown it. Stop using it since a tight, uncomfortable jacket can constrict the neck and chest.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I put a six-month-old in a life jacket?

Yes. From the age of four months onwards, babies attain the minimum weight requirement of 18 lbs as per the US Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety. Therefore, you can put six-month-olds in a type 2 life jacket with certainty.

2. What is the smallest life jacket size?

The smallest life jacket size available measures 16 to 20 inches and is suitable for infants between 0 and 2 years old.

3. Are puddle jumpers better than life jackets?

Puddle jumpers are a unique combination of a life jacket and swimming vest. Children can slide their arms into the arm floats and buckle the straps at the rear for safety. These jumpers are considered a Type 3 PFD (personal floatation device) and are approved for use by the Coast Guard. However, there are some forms of the device that are not approved, which makes it a safety concern. That’s why it is recommended to use a USCG-approved jumper or life jacket.

Why Trust MomJunction?

We have curated a list of the best life jackets for infants and toddlers that will keep them safe on a day out at the beach or backwaters. They can also be used to learn swimming. After searching and analyzing multiple websites and customer reviews, we have found the best products made of high-quality materials that offer optimal protection and security. We have studied customer reviews posted on multiple trusted websites to offer you an unbiased opinion. You can also browse our buying guide for more information on these personal floatation devices.

The Bottom Line

An infant life jacket protects a baby/toddler from the risk of drowning while swimming. This list of the best life jackets for infants features jackets that can help your little one swim safely and comfortably. It includes the Salus Bijoux Baby Vest, which offers temperature control and ventilation; the Stohlquist Infant and Toddler Life Jacket, which provides enhanced neck support; and the O’Neill Infant Superlite Life Vest, with handles and a crotch strap. Carefully read product descriptions to pick an appropriate jacket based on the weight limit, approval seals, and safety features, such as the number of harness straps. Buy the most suitable product for your child’s age so that you and your baby enjoy swimming to the fullest.

Infographic: Features To Look For When Buying Infant Life Jacket

Whether you live in coastal areas or are taking your baby to water bodies, investing in a good infant life jacket will ensure your baby’s safety. But if you are unsure about the features the jacket should have, consider looking at our infographic below. This guide includes specifications of an infant life jacket to help you buy the best.

How To Ensure Buying The Best Life Jacket For Your Baby (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

Download Infographic in PDF version

References

    1. Unintentional Drowning: Get the Facts; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    2. Infant Water Safety; American Academy of Pediatrics
    3. Life Jackets and Life Preservers; American Academy of Pediatrics
    4. The Different Types Of Life Jackets; Utah State Parks


 Recommended Articles:  

Was this article helpful?
thumbsupthumbsdown
The following two tabs change content below.