Before going on a boat with your baby, one of your biggest worries is: what is the best infant life jacket to put on your child. This is the most important item on everyone’s boat. Not only that, but children in every state must have a life jacket on, either according to a state law or the United State Coast Guard’s interim rule.
It is always better to be safe than sorry, my mother always says. If you make sure your child has the best infant life jacket money can buy, then your mind will definitely be at ease. Well, as much as a parent’s mind can be put to ease.
So, what should you look for in the best infant life jacket?
What Is a Life Jacket?
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A life jacket is a personal floatation device made to help you and your loved ones stay above water, potentially saving lives. The jackets are either inflatable or companies make them with materials that keep them afloat in the water.
The inflatable life jacket has a small cartridge of carbon dioxide gas. When you activate this cartridge, it will fill your life jacket with this carbon dioxide gas. If for any reason you can not manually activate this cartridge, then there is a tube on the life jacket for you or someone else to blow up your vest.
The outside of life jackets is made from vinyl or nylon material which holds in specific material to keep you afloat. The material inside a life vest is either polyvinyl chloride or polyethylene. These materials are like a plastic foam which adds buoyancy.
Different types of life jackets
There are five different types of life jackets. For example, all Type I life jackets are bulky, which makes it perfect for those who have to wait a long time in rough seas. You must also know how to swim if you are using one of these life jackets. There are not any of the Type I life jackets at this moment that the Coast Guard approves.
Now for your little ones you, of course, need the best infant life jacket, which is a Type II. This is considered a “near-shore life jacket” but can be used on infants or small children while out in the ocean or in a pool.
Other life jackets are:
- The Type III life jacket is for those who know how to swim and can keep their own head above water
- Type IV is a device you throw to people who are in danger
- Type V is a life jacket that is made for specific water activities and those who know how to swim
The function of an infant life jacket
Of course, the purpose of the best infant life jacket is to save your child’s life in the case of an emergency. It also helps your little one learn how to stay afloat and can give them a break if they are tired.
How long is a life jacket good for?
Most life jackets are good for up to 10 years. If your life jacket has a tear or it seems to be falling apart inside, then it is highly recommended for you to buy another life jacket.
You do not want to take a chance of wearing a faulty life jacket in an emergency.
The amount of weight a life jacket can hold
The best infant life jacket can hold up to 30 pounds, but your child also needs to fit inside the life jacket correctly. If the life jacket is too loose, the infant could fall right out of it. If the infant life jacket is too tight, it could harm your infant, and they may cry from discomfort.
Watch the video below to learn how to choose the right size for your baby and older kids:
Places you can purchase an infant life jacket
You can buy most life jackets in boating stores or other local stores that carry boat or pool safety items. We found that shopping online was the best because not only did we have more options but we also could read what customers really thought about the product.
When you purchase from a store, the employee may push a sale and not tell you all the good and bad things about that item. Where online, the customers do not receive anything for their comments and can be more open with their opinions.
How We Reviewed the Best Infant Life Jacket
We picked the life jackets in this review by consulting a number of sources, including Amazon and parent reviews. We also checked to see what each of the best infant life jackets is made from the right materials. You want to make sure that you are not accidentally buying a child’s life jacket for an infant, after all.
Finally, we made sure that all of the life jackets had 4.0 out of 5.0 stars or more.
The Best Infant Life Jacket
When you are buying a product that could help save your child’s life, it is best to review all your options. Check out our suggestions below:
Stohlquist Toddler Life Jacket Coast Guard Approved Life Vest for Infants
- Quick release buckle over entry zipper for added security
- Adjustable crotch strap
- Convenient grab handle; Child: Type III PFD with sea level buoyancy of 8 lbs. 6 oz. Type III PFDs are NOT designed to...
Stohlquist Waterware makes a life vest approved by the Coast Guard. This product has a big neck opening to make it more comfortable for the infant. The life jack is a Type II PFD and has a grab handle in case of an emergency. There is a quick-release button strap on top of the zipper, and all straps are adjustable.
The rating for this life jacket is 4.5 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon. Many customers say their children love this life jacket and say it works great with keeping their infant above water.
Stearns Infant Classic Series Vest
- US Coast Guard-approved toddler life jacket
- Great for introducing little swimmers to the water
- Durable nylon shell with PE flotation foam
Stearns Infant Classic is approved by the Coast Guard and is for children under 30 pounds. The company makes this life jacket with durable nylon material. This product has a grab handle and another strap next to the legs.
The Stearns Infant Classic Series Vest has a rating of 4.2 out of 5.0 stars. Customers so delighted with this life jacket and say it easy it is to put on their child. A couple of customers are upset they got a fake Stearns life jacket, and it did not say Coast Guard approved.
O’Neill Wake Waterski Infant USCG Vest
- Infant vest for 30lbs and under
- USCG Approved Vest Head Support Panel with Safety Loop
- Adjustable Safety Belt between legs
The O’Neill infant life jacket is Coast Guard approved and is a Type II vest. The company claims the life jacket is soft and durable. The straps are adjustable, and the company makes it out of nylon.
This product has a rating of 4.3 out of 5.0 stars. The customers are thrilled with how well this life jacket works. There are a few customers that say this vest pushes their children’s face-up, but with what we have learned if that happens, then this is not the correct size for their child.
O’Neill Infant Superlite USCG Life Vest
- Lightweight Polyethylene Foam
- Coated Polyester Shell
- Soft and Comfortable
O’Neill Wetsuits makes the Superlite USCG infant life jacket. The company makes this life jacket with polyethylene foam and has a polyester cover layer. O’Neill Wetsuits claims the life jacket is durable and soft with quick-release straps.
Superlite life jacket has a rating of 4.4 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon. Customers are loving the durability of this life jacket. Unfortunately, a few customers are upset the proof of this being certified by the Coast Guard is not on the product.
Stearns 2000013889 PFD 5402 Hydro Infant Blue
- Made of the highest qualitiy materials
- Personal flotation device
- Another quality Stearns product
This Hydro infant blue life jacket is made by Stearns. The company claims this life jacket has the best quality of materials. It has two straps between the legs that are adjustable and a handle to pull your child out of the water in an emergency.
This Stearns’ life jacket has a rating of 4.0 out of 5.0 stars. These Amazon customers are very pleased with how well this life jacket fits on their children. A couple of customers say this life jacket flipped their child over on the face.
Airhead Infant Life Vest
- Closed sided vest with crotch strap included for extra safety and segmented head rest and grab handle
- Three sturdy belts with side-release buckles
- USCG approved Type II
Airhead makes this infant life vest with an adorable duck on it. This life jacket has three adjustable straps across the front and one in between the legs. The Coast Guard approves this life jacket, and it is a Type II. Airhead states this life jacket is for children under 30 pounds.
This life jacket has a rating of 4.8 out of 5.0 stars. Customers love how adorable this life vest is and how perfectly it fits the children. A few customers are upset they got the hippo instead of the duck, and state the vest rides up, on the child’s face.
Salus Bijoux Baby Vest: Flotation Jacket for Infants
- Winner of the Canadian Safe Boating Award (CASB) for Best New Safety Product
- Designed for babies 9 to 25 pounds (chest size 12 to 18 inches around). Adjustable mesh and webbing harness system for...
- Three piece collar design with additional flotation on sides to cradle baby's head in center of collar for security and...
Salus makes this flotation jacket for children under 25 pounds. The mesh and web harness is adjustable. The company makes this jacket with a three-piece design to help hold the infant’s head in the middle. Coast Guard does not approve this life jacket, but parents are thrilled with how well it works.
Salus Floatation jacket has a rating of 4.6 out of 5.0 stars. Customers say this jacket is excellent at keeping their children above water.
CWB Infant Neoprene Vest
CWB makes this infant life vest. The company states this life jacket is for children under 30 pounds. The Coast Guard approves this product, and it has adjustable straps. The CWB life vest also has mesh drain holes to help reduce holding too much water.
CWB Infant Life Vest has a rating of 4.7 out of 5.0 stars with Amazon. So many customers love the design of the life vest and say it keeps their children’s head above water. A few customers were upset the life jacket had stains and was falling apart in certain areas when they opened the boxes.
OldPAPA Swim Trainer Vest with Head Supportive Buoyancy Collar
- SWIM TRAINER VEST – LEVEL 2 – PROMOTE CONFIDENCE & PLAY: Swim Trainer Vest supports your child in feeling...
- Safety buckle of our SWIM VEST can be adjusted. You can choose a suitable size for your child according to our size...
- ADJUSTABLE, SECURE FIT: Trainer vest is easy to wear and remove with head supportive buoyancy collar, padded shoulders,...
OldPAPA makes this life vest for children up to 36 pounds. It has two adjustable straps and a heavy-duty zipper. The company states this life jacket is best for children who are learning how to swim, not those who can only float.
This life jacket has a rating of 4.1 out of 5.0 stars. Customers love that it fits tightly around their child and is lightweight. A couple of customers are not happy that the Coast Guard does not approve this life jacket. However, we added it to our list because parents really like it.
RAVE Sports Infant Nylon Personal Flotation Device – Baby Life Jacket
- Fits infants less than 30 lbs. (14 Kg)/16-20" (41-51cm) chest
- Durable Nylon with soft foam core for comfort
- 3 sure-lock buckles with leg loop strap for protection
Rave Sports makes this infant life jacket with nylon material. It is suitable for children under 30 pounds. This life jacket is a Type II vest, and the Coast Guard approves it. The life jacket has three adjustable straps and a handle to pull your child out of the water in the case of an emergency.
The Rave Sports life jacket has a rating of 4.0 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon. Customers love how comfortable this life vest is on their little ones. Some of the customers complained the jacket is too bulky.
Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe Vest
- Oversized collar for improved head support
- Convenient buckle opening at collar makes it easy to put on
- Elasticized fabric leg strap for added comfort
Full Throttle makes an infant life vest with an oversized collar to help hold the head in place. The company makes the life jacket with two elasticized adjustable straps. This product also comes with a grab handle in the case of an emergency. Full Throttle recommends this life jacket for children under 30 pounds.
This life jacket has a rating of 4.1 out of 5.0 stars. Most customers like how great it fit on their babies and how it did not dig into their neck. There are a few customers who say it is too bulky.
Oceans7 Infant Life Jacket
- US COAST GUARD APPROVED LIFE VEST: Passes highest USCG standards and testing; USCG Approved Life Jackets are labeled...
- USCG APPROVED SIZING: INFANT SIZE PFDs: 8–30 Pounds (If weight is under 25 lbs. – Try INFANT Size; If weight is...
- FULL-SIZE RANGE PERFORMANCE: Durable Nylon construction and thick EPE flotation foam; When the life vest PFD is securely...
The Coast Guard approves this infant life jacket, and it is Type II. Oceans7 makes this product with three adjustable straps and with nylon material. The company states this infant life jacket is for babies weighing 8 to 25 pounds.
Oceans7 infant life jacket has a rating of 4.0 out of 5.0 stars. Many customers are saying it is very comfortable for their babies and works excellent. A few customers are upset that the size guide is wrong and life jacket did not fit correctly.
Which Is the Best Infant Life Jacket for Your Baby?
We know you are wondering which is the best infant life jacket for your little one, but we can not answer that. First off, it depends on the style of infant life jacket you want. Also, do you want one strap or like four straps?
After deciding this, you will then be able to narrow down the search criteria. There are so many great infant life jackets available that you may get a little overwhelmed, not to worry, as long as you purchase one, you have done great.
Do you own the best infant life jacket? If so, what do think is the best thing about it, and what do you wish the company could change? Please let us know in the comment section below.
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